Japanese media revealed that two Chinese ships entered, in the early hours of Friday morning, the territorial waters of Japan at a series of disputed islands in the East China Sea.
“The ships entered the territorial waters off Minamikojima Island at approximately 2:40 am local time (1740 GMT Thursday),” the Japanese Coast Guard said in a statement, according to local broadcaster NHK.
The ships were trying to approach a Japanese fishing boat operating in territorial waters about 21 km off Minamikojima Island, but left after Japanese patrol ships asked them to leave their territorial waters immediately, according to the radio.
The incident occurred just a week after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first time in person at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand.
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It is noteworthy that the disputed islands are called “Diaoyu” by the Chinese, while Japan calls them “Senkaku”, and they are the subject of a dispute between the countries of Japan, China and Taiwan, which claim the right of sovereignty over the islands.
Tensions rose between China and Japan in September 2012, after Japan declared its ownership of the islands, while China responded to that by sending surveillance ships to it from time to time.