NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Three Chinese marine surveillance ships entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea on Wednesday afternoon, the Japan Coast Guard said.
It was the 16th time for Chinese government ships to cross into the Japanese waters since Japan purchased three of the five uninhabited islets in September, effectively nationalizing the chain, which is also claimed by China, where it is called Diaoyu.
According to the coast guard’s 11th regional headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the three ships moved into Japanese waters west of Uotsuri, one of the Senkakus, at around 3:20 p.m. Japan Coast Guard ships warned the three vessels to leave. But crew members on the Chinese ships responded by saying the area 12 nautical miles from Diaoyu constitutes Chinese territorial waters.
Meanwhile, a Chinese fishery patrol ship entered the contiguous zone surrounding the Japanese territorial waters at a point northwest of Kubajima, another of the Senkakus, on Wednesday morning.