Two China Coast Guard ships have approached and chased a Japanese fishing boat in Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Coast Guard said Saturday.

The Japan Coast Guard ordered the Chinese vessels to leave the waters and deployed a patrol ship to safeguard the fishing boat, whose three crew members were unhurt during Friday's incident.

A total of four China Coast Guard ships were in Japanese waters around the Japanese-administered islets, which are also claimed by China, for about two hours from 4 p.m. The islets are known in China as Diaoyu. They are also claimed by Taiwan, which calls them Tiaoyutai.

Two of the four pursued the Japanese boat, which was about 12 km southwest of Uotsuri Island, at around 4:50 p.m. It was the first encroachment by Chinese ships into Japanese waters around the uninhabited Senkaku Islands since April 17.

Beijing has been sending official vessels close to the uninhabited islands in an apparent attempt to assert that it controls them.