Two Chinese coast guard vessels entered Japanese territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Saturday, marking the second straight day Chinese government ships sailed in the waters.

On Friday, four Haijing ships from the Chinese coast guard intruded into the Japanese waters around the islands, which are also claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyu. Two of the vessels then approached a Japanese fishing boat operating there, briefly chasing the vessel.

The two Haijing ships that entered Japanese waters on Saturday were spotted staying near the same Japanese boat. The Japan Coast Guard’s 11th regional headquarters in Naha sent patrol ships and urged the Chinese vessels to leave the area.

It was the ninth time this year that Chinese government ships had crossed into Japanese waters.

The two Haijing ships entered the Japanese waters around 6:05 p.m. Saturday at a point west of Uotsuri Island, one of the Senkakus, according to the regional coast guard headquarters. They were about 11 km north-northwest of Uotsuri as of 9:40 p.m., with the Japan Coast Guard remaining on alert to ensure the safety of the Japanese fishing boat.

According to the Japan Coast Guard, Chinese government ships entered the Japanese waters around the Senkakus for two consecutive days for the first time since August 2016, when Haijing ships sailed there for three days in a row.

On Friday, Tokyo lodged a protest with Beijing over the earlier incident via a call to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo by Shigeki Takizaki, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and a similar call from the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, a Japanese government source said.

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