Japan protests after Chinese vessels enter waters near disputed Senkaku islands
Tokyo/Sputnik: Tokyo protested to Beijing after Chinese Coast Guard ships entered waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.
On Thursday, the Kyodo news agency reported, citing the Japan Coast Guard, that two Chinese ships had entered Japan's territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyudao Islands in China, and tried to approach a Japanese fishing boat. The attempt was thwarted by a Japanese patrol ship, which sailed between the fishing vessel and Chinese ones.
"Via diplomatic [channels] from yesterday ... we are asking them to stop such an activity and leave our waters immediately with a strong protest," Suga said at a press conference.
The islands in question have long been an object of territorial disputes between China and Japan. While Tokyo maintains it has had sovereignty over them since 1895, Beijing claims that the islands are marked as a Chinese territory on Japanese maps circa 1783 and 1785.
Following World War II, the islands were controlled by the United States and handed over to Japan in 1972. China believes Japan has illegally seized them while Tokyo rebuts that they have begun claiming the islands for themselves after in the 1970s the surrounding water area was found to be full of valuable minerals.
The tensions have exacerbated after the Japanese government bought three of the islands from a private owner in 2012.