Tokyo: Four Chinese Coast Guard patrol boats, armed with rockets, have entered Japanese waters. A few days ago, China gave its Coast Guard the authority to take action on foreign ships. For the first time since then, Chinese patrol boats have infiltrated Japanese boundaries. Japan has warned that the intrusion challenges its sovereignty.
On Monday, four Chinese Coast Guard patrol boats entered Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands. Two of the patrol boats were in Japan’s territorial waters for a long time. The other two vessels withdrew from the area. However, at 4.15 am on Tuesday, two Chinese Coast Guard ships entered Japan’s territorial waters again. This time, the Chinese vessels sailed dangerously in the direction of a Japanese fishing boat in the sea.
The Japanese Coast Guard said a Japanese patrol ship had stepped forward to protect the fishing boat, thus avoiding an untoward event. Two of China’s Coast Guard vessels were armed with cannon-like weapons, the Japanese Coast Guard informed. Japan says it was the first time a Chinese Coast Guard ship was seen armed with such weapons.
At around 10 am on Tuesday, the Chinese patrol boats withdrew from Japanese territorial waters near Senkaku Islands. Nevertheless, tensions in the region had risen sharply by then. Japanese Prime Minister Suga’s administration had expressed outrage over the infiltration of Chinese Coast Guard boats. Also, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato warned that the intrusion of Chinese patrol boats and their dangerous approach near the Japanese fishing boats was absolutely unacceptable.
Only a few days ago, China granted additional powers to its Coast Guard. The regime has instructed its Coast Guard to take direct action if foreign ships infiltrate into its territory in the East and the South China Sea. It includes the contested waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
China claims its sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Nevertheless, Japan asserts its sole ownership over the islands. Japan is also preparing to set up an independent naval contingent to protect its islands from Chinese aggression.