Japan Spots 230 Chinese Fishing Boats Off Disputed Islets

Tokyo, – Some 230 Chinese fishing vessels and six coast guard ships, including three apparently carrying weapons, sailed into waters close to disputed East China Sea islands on Saturday, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. However, it is rare for so many Chinese fishing vessels to be spotted in the area.

After catching sight of the coastguard ships in the contiguous waters, the Japanese foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau lodged a strong protest with the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, it said.

The foreign ministry, which also submitted a protest its embassy in Beijing, demanded the vessels leave the disputed waters immediately and “never enter Japan’s territorial waters”, the ministry said in a statement.

“Japan can never accept activities by (Chinese) official vessels near the Senkaku islands, because it will unilaterally escalate the situation and raise tensions in the area,” it said.

Source: Qatar News Agency