Tokyo | Tokyo said on Monday that it had protested to Beijing about two incursions into Japanese territorial waters, after China enacted legislation that strengthened what it described as its response to violations of its maritime territories.
Japan and China are competing for ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Tokyo call the Senkaku and Beijing Diaoyu. Tokyo manages these rocky islands, which regularly protest what it describes as Chinese ships’ encroachment on its territory.
The latest complaint comes amid escalating tensions after China passed legislation allowing the Coast Guard to use force against foreign ships that Beijing considers that they enter its waters illegally.
Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Tokyo had protested the entry of two Chinese Coast Guard vessels into the waters off the Senkaku Islands on Saturday and Sunday.
“We have strongly protested, through diplomatic channels, in both Tokyo and Beijing, to urgently stop their maneuvers immediately in an attempt to approach the Japanese fishing vessels and quickly leave the territorial waters,” said Mr. Kato.
He added that Japanese coastguard vessels “have repeatedly requested to leave while ensuring the safety of the fishing vessels.” “Japan will not be able to bear” such moves, Kato added.
Chinese Coast Guard ships have been regularly dispatched around the disputed islands, especially under the leadership of President Xi Jinping who wants to make China a great maritime power.
In addition to these disputed islands with Japan, Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, much to the chagrin of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam with competing claims.
China ignored the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that its claims were baseless.