Expulsion an option, Abe warns

Eight Chinese vessels enter Senkaku area

Kyodo

Eight Chinese maritime surveillance vessels entered Japanese territorial waters Tuesday around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Coast Guard said.

China’s State Oceanic Administration said the vessels were there to monitor the activity of a flotilla of boats reportedly carrying members of a Japanese nationalist group. China regards the area as its territorial waters.

This is the most Chinese ships to enter Japanese waters near the Senkakus since the central government purchased three of them from their Saitama owner last September and effectively nationalized the chain, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

The Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Chinese ambassador and lodged a protest over the maritime activity.

“It is extremely regrettable and unacceptable that Chinese state ships continue to engage in intrusion,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. “We are protesting strictly through our diplomatic channels.”

The intrusion came after around 10 fishing boats carrying members of a conservative political group called Ganbare Nippon left Ishigaki Island in Okinawa and headed toward the Senkakus on Monday night.

China’s State Oceanic Administration said that after three of its marine surveillance ships — the Haijian 51, 23 and 46 — spotted the Japanese boats in the area of Uotsuri, the largest islet in the Senkakus, five other ships — the Haijian 50, 15, 49, 66 and 137 — were ordered to alter course and converge on the area.

Running in four formations, the eight Chinese ships monitored the Japanese ships from different angles, it said in a statement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on the islets.

“We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land,” Abe told the Diet in response to questions from lawmakers. “We would never allow” a landing.

“It would be natural for us to expel by force (the Chinese) if they were to make a landing,” he said.

According to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, Japan’s surveillance vessels instructed the Chinese ships to leave after they entered the area in succession between 7:20 a.m. and 8:25 a.m.

Two Chinese fishery surveillance vessels were also spotted sailing in the contiguous zone outside the territorial waters around the islets, the coast guard said.

Suga said he was not in a position to know China’s intent but added he did not believe the ships’ activity had anything to do with recent visits to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo by some Cabinet members.

Bilateral relations have been frayed over conflicting claims to the islets as well as visits to Yasukuni, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals.

  • antony

    Such territorial disputes can last for years and years and end up going nowhere.

    • jackcandobutwont

      This territorial dispute has been going on since WW 2.

      Too bad both side sned on the old time elected official and say wrestle…2 out of 3 falls wins!!

  • lg

    I am confused, as to why these types of disputes cannot be presented to the World court(if such a thing exist)? I would think that especially as the earth’s resources shrink a peaceful solution would be preferatable to all out war.
    As a student in history, I remember how the allies of WW1 were dragged into a regional conflict and the result is there for all to see. however, as bad as that was, today would involve much more effective killing machines, chemicals, nukes, biological and so on.
    China states it has a Dream for China’s future and the need for a strong Military is essential to insure that dream. It all sounds very benign, but the translation is clear after you sweep away all the political jargon and rhetoric. I believe I read the writing on the wall, can anyone else?

  • Pat

    What a waste! While fisheries disappear (and resources generally), this juvenile role-playing continues? Shame on both leaders. Perhaps working together on a conservation agreement would be far more diplomatic, to say nothing of benefit to their peoples?