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Chinese Vessels Enter Disputed East China Sea Waters

Graham Perdue
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In a possible escalation of tensions in an already disputed area, Chinese coast guard vessels entered the waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday. Japan claims this territory, as does China and Taiwan.

Tokyo’s coast guard released an announcement declaring it repeatedly asked the four Chinese ships to exit “our territorial waters.” The Japanese call the land masses the Senkaku Islands.

Japanese officials reported the vessels stayed for approximately two hours before exiting northward. There were also Chinese incursions into the area on Jan. 27.


In 2023, China’s foreign ministry lashed out at Japan’s claim to the islands and surrounding waters in the East China Sea. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a gathering of journalists that the action was a “grave violation” of Chinese sovereignty.

Wang continued, “Chinese coast guard vessels carried out law enforcement on the scene in accordance with the law, it is a legitimate measure to safeguard Chinese sovereignty.”

The remarks followed Japanese officials protesting the presence of Chinese vessels in its East China Sea territory. The issue has long divided the two Asian nations and raised regional tensions.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s navy has increased its aggressive actions in the Pacific Rim. Japan is far from the only nation to protest what it views as incursions into its territory. 


Chinese officials brush off protests from its neighbors, countering that the presence of its vessels in disputed waters is “routine” and part of a “normal rights protection patrol.”

Beijing last year accused Tokyo of intruding into its territory with several patrol vessels and a yacht. It claimed its vessels were there to present a “strong countermeasure” to Japanese moves to shore up its hold on the region.

The United States has strong ties with Japan and Taiwan as well as several other Pacific Rim nations. Washington’s military might has long been seen as a counterbalance to Chinese ambitions to establish hegemony in the expansive area.

The dispute between China and Japan over the islands is just the latest in a long series of disagreements that keep the nations far apart diplomatically.

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