Prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on disputed islands.
“We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land” on the islands, Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers. “It would be natural for us to expel by force the Chinese if they were to make a landing.”
Abe made the remarks after eight Chinese government ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the islands on Tuesday, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government said.
Japan’s coast guard confirmed the vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain, while the government’s top spokesman said the flotilla was a one-day record since Tokyo’s nationalisation in September.
Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in protest.
The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, around 8 a.m., the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.
State-owned Chinese ships have frequently spent time around the five disputed islands, also claimed by Taiwan, in recent months.
“It is extremely deplorable and unacceptable that Chinese government ships are repeatedly entering Japanese territorial waters. We have made a firm protest against China both in Beijing and Tokyo,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
© 2013 AFP
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict