Chinese ships enter Japanese waters

AFP-JIJI

Three Chinese government ships intruded into Japanese waters around the contested Senkaku Islands on Sunday, the Japan Coast Guard reported.

The three maritime surveillance vessels were spotted inside the 12-nautical-mile zone around the Japan-held Senkakus, which China claims as Diaoyu and Taiwan as Tiaoyutai, shortly after 10 a.m. in the East China Sea, the coast guard said.

Under international law, a nation’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its coastlines.

The incursion is the latest in a long string as the two countries jostle over the sovereignty of the potentially resource-rich islet chain. Beijing argues it should have been “returned” after World War II.

The long-simmering territorial row flared anew when Japan bought three of the main islets, effectively nationalizing the entire group, in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership.