NAHA, Okinawa Pref. — Four Chinese surveillance ships entered Japan’s territorial waters Tuesday near the Senkaku Islands and then left the area around 1:10 p.m., the Japan Coast Guard said.
This is the eighth time Chinese government ships have entered the territorial waters in the East China Sea since Japan nationalized three of the five islets Sept. 11.
Two Chinese fishing patrol ships also sailed in an area just outside Japan’s territorial waters around the islets Tuesday for the 11th day in a row and signaled for a Japan Coast Guard cutter to get out, the coast guard said.
The coast guard warned the ships not to enter Japan’s territorial waters, but the four surveillance ships ignored this order. The Japan-controlled islets are claimed by China.
One of the surveillance ships put up a message in Chinese on an electronic board telling a coast guard cutter to “leave” the area as it is “in China’s jurisdictional waters” and that the Japanese vessel was “violating the law,” according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.
Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba reiterated his resolve Monday to calm the row with China over the Senkakus, while maintaining Japan’s position that no territorial dispute officially exists.
“While it may take some time, we must work persistently and tenaciously to calm the situation and stabilize economic, cultural and people exchanges” between the two countries, he told reporters.
Genba said the government will continue to lodge protests with Beijing whenever official Chinese vessels enter Japanese waters near the islets.
Since the government purchased three of the five islets from a Saitama businessman in September, Chinese surveillance ships have repeatedly entered Japanese waters around them.
Japan says the Senkaku Islands, which are called Diaoyu in China, are an inherent part of its territory based on historical fact and in light of international law. Beijing has been seeking to get Tokyo to acknowledge it has a claim to the islets.