Japan protests Chinese warships near conflicting islands

Tokyo — Japan protested Beijing after discovering Chinese and Russian warships just outside the territorial waters of the conflicting East China Sea islands on Monday.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense said Chinese frigate ships sailed within the “contiguous zone” just outside Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands. The Senkaku Islands are also claimed by the Chinese government and are called Diaoyu.

According to the ministry, the existence of Chinese warships was confirmed about 40 minutes after the Russian frigate entered the waters for more than an hour.

What was behind the recent military activities of China and Russia in the region was not immediately clear. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces said the ship may have been there to avoid the typhoon.

Deputy Prime Minister Seiji Kihara said Japan had filed a protest in Beijing expressing “grave concern” about the case.

“The Senkaku Islands are an endemic part of Japan’s territory, both historically and under international law. The government will calmly but firmly address this issue in order to protect Japan’s land, territorial waters and airspace. That would be it, “said Kihara.

He said there were no territorial waters violations.

In Beijing, the Chinese Communist Party government justified the entry of frigate ships and criticized Tokyo’s protests.

Japan sees the increasingly aggressive military activity of the Chinese government in the East China Sea and South China Sea as a threat to regional stability. Tokyo is particularly sensitive to China’s activities near conflicting islands.

Kihara said Monday’s invasion of Chinese warships into the adjacent zone between the territorial waters and the wider exclusive economic zone was the fourth such event since June 2016.

Associated Press


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