Chinese surveillance ships enter Japanese waters: Tokyo
Iran Press TV
Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:35PM GMT
Japan says three Chinese surveillance ships have entered its territorial waters off disputed islands in the East China Sea.
According to a statement by Japan's Coast Guard, the ships entered the 12-nautical-mile territorial zone off Uotsuri, shortly before 1:00 pm local time (0400 GMT), on Sunday.
The announcement came an hour after Japan claimed a Chinese fisheries patrol boat has briefly entered territorial waters off another disputed island.
The disputed islands are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Earlier in February, Japan also accused China of sending surveillance ships to its territorial waters.
On February 5, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said a Chinese frigate has directed its weapon-targeting radar at a Japanese vessel in the international waters of the East China Sea on January 30. The Chinese defense ministry denied the allegations.
Japan and China have long been in a dispute over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands, which are located near a crucial shipping lane and would give their owner exclusive oil, mineral, and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.
The disputed islands are controlled by Japan and form part of Okinawa prefecture.
Tensions heightened between the two countries after Japan signed a deal on September 11, 2012 to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago.
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