Iran’s Press TV reports (via GlobalSecurity.org) that Japan’s Coast Guard says four Chinese ships have sailed into Japan-controlled waters of the Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu by China) on Oct. 1. 2013 — the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Tokyo has long been engaged in a dispute with Beijing over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands.
The incident also came as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are expected to meet their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo two days later on Oct. 3 to discuss operational arrangements for the alliance between the two sides.
Previous similar incidents include:
- On September 27, China sent a fleet of four vessels for patrolling territorial waters surrounding the disputed chain of islands.
- On September 14, four Chinese ships entered Japan’s territorial waters.
- In late April 2013, eight Chinese vessels entered the disputed waters, which led Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to say that Tokyo would “expel by force” any Chinese individuals landing on the islands.
On September 11, 2012, Tokyo signed a deal to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago.
The islands are located near a crucial shipping lane and give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.
Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that his country is ready to talk to Japan over the maritime row if Tokyo declares the islands to be disputed.
- “Joint Statement of US-Japan Security Consultative Committee,” Oct. 3, 2013.
- “China’s irredentist nationalism and the six wars to come,” Sept. 23, 2013.