Chinese Ships Enter Japanese Waters, Prompts Tokyo to Protest

Chinese Ships Enter Japanese Waters, Prompts Tokyo to Protest
An armed Chinese coast guard ship sails in the water near islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese, on Dec. 22, 2015. (Japan Coast Guard via AP)

Chinese vessels entered Japan’s waters in the East China Sea at two separate locations on Thursday, prompting Tokyo to lodge protests against Beijing.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the top Japanese government spokesperson, said Japan conveyed “strong concern” and lodged a protest against China through diplomatic channels after a Chinese military ship intruded into Japan’s waters.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, a Chinese Navy Shupang-class survey ship entered Japanese waters near Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, off the island’s southwest coast, around 10 a.m., reported the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The naval vessel left around 1 p.m. from the west side of Kuchinoerabu Island, heading west, the ministry added.

It marked the 11th time since February for a naval vessel from Beijing crossed into Japan’s territory.

Surveying activities in other countries’ waters are forbidden under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

However, international law also allows vessels, including military vessels, to pass through other countries’ waters as long as they don’t pose a threat to the countries’ security and order.

On the same day, two Chinese Coast Guard vessels also entered Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands—referred to by China as “Diaoyu”—and tried to approach a Japanese fishing boat, Matsuno said.

The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) said the intrusion was the first time Chinese coast guard vessels entered Japanese waters since May 24.

The vessels entered an area off the Minami-Kojima Island in the Senkaku Islands shortly after 11:50 a.m., the JCG’s 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha said, reported the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have mostly been administered by Japan since 1895, but Beijing began asserting its rights over the islands in the 1970s.

Japan’s coast guard subsequently sent out patrol boats to deter the Chinese vessels from staying in Japanese waters, and the Japanese government later lodged a protest with China via diplomatic channels.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whenever China’s coast guard ships enter Japan’s territorial waters, “on-site Japanese patrol vessels demand them to leave,” adding that the Japanese Government promptly lodges a strong protest against the Chinese regime through diplomatic channels to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

The latest intrusions come after Japan and China agreed on June 3 to ensure the “reliability” of their military hotline operation in order to prevent potential clashes amid rising tensions in the East China Sea.

Both sides agreed on June 3 on the need to promote dialogue and exchange while ensuring that their military hotline—which began operation in May—is being used “appropriately.”

The hotline was established to link the leadership of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces at the nation’s defense ministry with Chinese defense ministry officials. Japan’s government earlier stated the military hotline is “not only for responding when unforeseen circumstances occur but also for building trust between the two countries.”

At the June 3 meeting, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu he was concerned about the situation in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, particularly the Senkaku Islands.

The Chinese regime has laid claim to most of the South China Sea, citing the so-called “nine-dash line”—a vaguely-defined U-shaped delineation that carves out the regions where it claims “historic rights” to resources within the sea—despite competing claims from other nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Aldgra Fredly and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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