Tensions remain high over the Japanese-controlled, Chinese-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea as Beijing continues to regularly send vessels into nearby waters, with Sunday marking 10 years since Tokyo brought most of the islets under state control.

The Senkakus, which China calls the Diaoyu, have been a thorny and long-running issue in bilateral relations. Despite repeated protests from Tokyo, Beijing — which has also aggressively asserted territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea — continues to send vessels to waters around the islands in a bid to shift the status quo.

A Chinese diplomatic source indicated Beijing's frequent dispatch of vessels to waters near the uninhabited Senkakus has eroded Japan's effective control, saying China is close to having "the upper hand" in the bilateral row, so Beijing does not need to escalate its actions.