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.