China’s Coast Guard enters disputed waters in the East China Sea Ship’s crew

BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) – China’s Coast Guard entered the waters around the disputed islands in the East China Sea on Wednesday to counter what it called the incursion of Japanese ships into Chinese sovereign waters.

Disputed islands in the East China Sea claimed by China and Japan have long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu while Japan calls them Senkaku.

Chinese Naval Police spokesman Gan Yu said in a statement that coast guard vessels entered the Diaoyu waters for a “normal rights protection patrol” and described it as a “routine movement”.

“(This is also a strong countermeasure against the intrusion of a yacht and several patrol ships from the Japanese side into our territorial waters,” Gan said, although he did not cite an incident.

China Coast Guard said in late January that the Shinsei Maru and four other Japanese ships illegally entered Diaoyu Islands territorial waters before being evicted by Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

Wednesday’s patrol comes a day ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to hold a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Tokyo, the first such meeting in Japan in more than a decade, at a time when the United States hopes the two neighbors can form a more united front against Beijing.

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra and Christina Fincher)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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