Japan on Thursday lodged a protest with China after four Chinese coastguard vessels entered what Tokyo considers its territorial waters near disputed East China Sea islets and a drone-like object flew near one ship, the Japanese government said.
It was the first such flight near the islands witnessed by Japanese officials, although Thursday’s incident takes to 13 the number of intrusions this year by Chinese coastguard ships in the contested waters, Japan’s coastguard said.
Japan and China have long been at loggerheads over the tiny, uninhabited islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. They are controlled by Japan but claimed also by China.
Kenji Kanasugi, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, protested to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo by telephone.
“The Senkaku islands are Japan’s inherent territory and the entry into the territorial waters by the Chinese government ships is absolutely unacceptable,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.
“On top of that, there appears to have been a flight of a drone. We lodged a stern protest against this unilateral escalation of the situation by China.”
The Chinese embassy responded to the Japanese protest by reiterating “China’s own stance” on the islands, the official added.
In a brief statement on its website, China’s State Oceanic Administration confirmed that four coast guard vessels had been patrolling by the islands, but made no mention of any drone.
China routinely rejects Japanese criticism of such patrols, saying its ships have every right to operate in what China calls its territorial waters.
(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Source: Reuters “Japan protests to China over drone flight near disputed islets”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Japan will step up efforts to bolster its coastguard as a territorial dispute with China over a group of East China Sea islets shows no signs of abating, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.
Japan has long been at odds with China over the disputed islands, controlled by Japan but claimed also by China. They are called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Coastguard vessels from both countries routinely shadow each other near the uninhabited islets, stoking concern that an accidental collision or other complications could trigger a clash.
Japan’s coastguard budget for the year starting next April will exceed 210 billion yen ($1.8 billion) to help add five new large patrol ships to its fleet and increase the maritime law enforcement agency’s personnel by more than 200, Abe said.
The coastguard’s initial budget for this fiscal year, to March 2017, was 187.7 billion yen.
“Since the fall of 2012, Chinese government vessels have sailed near the Senkaku almost daily, and have entered Japan’s territorial waters around the islands a few times a month,” Abe told a meeting of relevant ministers.
Abe said the coastguard had to protect Japan’s waters and people and “ensure security and peace of mind”.
Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii, whose portfolio includes the coastguard, told reporters the situation over the disputed islets was “heading for a higher degree of urgency” because of increasing Chinese incursions.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka) Wed Dec 21, 2016 | 11:15am EST
Source: Reuters “Japan to bolster coast guard amid island dispute with China”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In my post yesterday titled “Japan Panicked as 7 of 10 Chinese Government Ships Armed with Cannons”, I says based on HK radio that Japan regards the situation as very serious as it finds that 7 of the 10 Chinese government ships in the sea area near the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) carry cannons. Japanese foreign minister directly contacted his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and asked Chinese ships to leave as soon as possible.
China’s official media Global Times says in its report today that Japan has lodged 23 protests over the past 5 days through various channels against Chinese government ships and fishing boats operating within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.
The operation of 15, the largest number ever, government ships in disputed waters is obviously China’s retaliation at Japan’s interference with China’s disputes in the South China Sea. Japan is not a party to the disputes nor a South China Sea country, but it has been urging China to respect the Hague ruling on the dispute and even expressed “deep concern” over China’s rejection of Hague arbitration ruling in its annual defense review on August 2.
However, neither Japan nor China wants tension to deteriorate without limit. Japan elected Toshihiro Nikai, a pro-Beijing politician, as secretary general of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party because after all Japan has lots of investment and interests in China. China, on the other hand, wants to keep good economic relations with Japan.
As a measure to ease the tension, Chinese ambassador to Japan Chen Yonghua visited Nikai to congratulate him. SCMP says in its report titled “Why are Chinese vessels sailing off the Diaoyus? According to Beijing’s envoy, they’re after ‘big fish’” today that Nikai expressed his concerns to Chen about the operations of large number of Chinese government ships in disputed waters.
Chen was previously very tough and contended that the area is China’s territory waters, hinting that Chinese ships were there to claim China’s sovereignty. However, to Nikai who he regards as a friend, he said instead that the unprecedented large number of 15 Chinese government ships were there for a “big catch of fish”.
SCMP says that Nikai said he was told by Cheng Yonghua that “fish were markedly concentrated” in the area around the islets. As Chen told Nikai Beijing would address the situation “sincerely” and has agreed with Nikai on a plan to seek an amicable solution through dialogue, the crisis must have been over now.
However, there has been no sign that China is withdrawing its government ships and its fishing boats have remained there to conduct large-scale fishing.
This blogger has pointed out in his previous posts that the disputed islands are but useless rocks and what China care is the fish and energy resources around them. Now China is getting the benefits of having the disputed islands by exploiting the fish and energy resources there. Is there any need for China to take the disputed islands by force? Better maintaining the profitable status quo and let Japan has nominal administration of the disputed islands. What is the point to have military conflict with Japan for those worthless rocks?
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at:
It has been Japan’s earnest desire that the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) will be entirely unfavorable to China as that will give China enough trouble in the South China Sea and help contain China’s rise. Japan sees China’s rise as a threat as no one can be sure that China will not retaliate the misery Japan caused to China when it invaded China. It has turned out that the ruling is entirely unfavorable, but China’s strong response that challenges the US to fight and US inaction has resulted in Chinese dominance of the South China Sea. Now, Chinese air force is conducting regular combat patrol of the South China Sea to scare rival claimants, especially the Philippines.
In order to further scare the Philippines and retaliate Japan’s interference with China’s disputes with the Philippines, China now takes counteroffensive in the East China Sea by sending an unprecedented large fleet of government ships to the sea areas near the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) to provide protection China’s large fishing operation there.
What can Japan do in response?
Japan protests but China simply disregards the protests and stresses the islands and the water near them are China’s.
Reuters says that Japan has warned China of worsening ties over the dispute, but in the past the ties were deteriorated due to the dispute and Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine. It was Japan that took the initiative to improve the ties while China simply does not care about that. Japan has lots of investment and interest in China. It will be Japan who suffers greatly from the deterioration of ties.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters report, full text of which can be viewed below:
Japan warns China of worsening ties over East China Sea dispute
Japan warned China on Tuesday that ties were “deteriorating markedly” over disputed East China Sea islets, and China’s envoy in Tokyo reiterated Beijing’s stance that the specks of land were its territory and called for talks to resolve the row.
Tensions between Asia’s two largest economies have risen since Japan saw an increasing number of Chinese coastguard and other government ships sailing near the disputed islets, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, over the past few days.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called in Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua for the second time since Friday and told him that China was trying to change the status quo unilaterally, a Japanese foreign ministry statement said.
It also said Kishida told Cheng that the environment surrounding Sino-Japanese ties was deteriorating markedly.
Cheng said after the meeting that he told Kishida the islands were an integral part of China’s territory and that the dispute should be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.
“I told him that … it is natural that Chinese ships conduct activity in the waters in question,” he told reporters.
“I also told him both countries need to work on dialogue through diplomatic channels so as not to make things more complicated and escalated,” Cheng said.
Kishida summoned Cheng after the latest flare-up in tensions over dozens of Chinese vessels that sailed near the islands at the weekend. Cheng was also called in by Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama on Friday.
The flurry of Chinese incursions into the waters follows a period of sustained pressure on China about its activities in the South China Sea, and Chinese criticism of what it saw as Japanese interference in that dispute.
The United States, its Southeast Asian allies and Japan have questioned Chinese land reclamation on contested islands in the South China Sea, particularly since an international court rejected China’s historic claims to most of that sea last month.
China has refused to recognise the court ruling on a case brought by the Philippines. Japan called on China to adhere to it, saying it was binding but Beijing warned Japan not to interfere.
Ties between China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest economies, have been plagued by the territorial row, the legacy of Japan’s wartime occupation of parts of China and regional rivalry.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Nobuhiro Kubo; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Paul Tait)
China has sent 2 more coastguard ships to the sea area near the Diaoyus (known as Senkakus in Japan), setting a new record of having 15 government ships there. The number of boats fishing there has risen to 400 from 230.
Japanese media are shocked by the size of coastguard fleet and some of them regard China’s operation as an attempt to make such operation an established one.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told provincial departments concerned to calmly and resolutely deal with the incident according to international and domestic law and gave the instruction that Japan shall intensify coordination with the US and other countries concerned to provide “correct intelligence” to Japanese people and international community.
However, the website of NHK TV stressed on August 8 that according to the fishery agreement between Japan and China, both countries’ fishing boats can conduct lawful fishing in the sea area.
Source: Global Times “Japanese media amazed by 15 Chinese government ships patrolling the Diaoyus” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In my post “230 Chinese Fishing Boats Fish in Disputed Waters with Japan” yesterday, I said, “It is fishing season now. China sends a fishing fleet of 232 boats escorted by coastguard ships to the areas around the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku in Japan).”
At that time there are 6 coastguard ships there protecting Chinese fishing boats. Japan protested and told Chinese vessels to leave the area as it regards the Diaoyus as its territories. Chinese coastguard ships, however, told Japanese coastguard ships to leave the area as China regards the Diaoyus as Chinese territories.
I said in that post, “Such protest repeats every year since 2012 when China sent a fishing fleet of 1,000 boats to fish in the disputed waters”.
Perhaps due to Japan’s protest, according to Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily’s report three hours ago, China has sent 7 more coastguard ships there to challenge Japanese coastguard ships. Japan found that 2 of the coastguard ships sailed within 12 nautical miles around the islands, which Japan regard as its territorial waters and lodged a second protest with Chinese embassy in Japan. Such protests, Japan knows, are useless as according to Japanese statistics, Chinese government ships have entered the waters 22 times this year. Japan’s first protest this time has only caused China to send 7 more coastguard ships to the area.
Source: Singtao Daily “13 Chinese coastguard ships sailing near the Diaoyu Islands” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)