Chinese coast guard ships violated Japan’s territorial seas for the longest time in a decade
TOKYO — The longest incursion of its sort in a decade occurred this week when two Chinese coast guard ships sailed in Japan’s territorial waters near a chain of disputed islands for more than 64 hours.
Chinese vessels entered Japanese waters in the East China Sea in the early hours of Tuesday, where they remained to monitor a Japanese fishing boat before departing Thursday evening, according to Japan’s coast guard.
Coast Guard ships from Japan arrived in the region and sailed directly toward China’s boats, demanding they leave Japanese territorial seas.
When a Chinese ship passed within 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, on Thursday, the coast guard said it had gone much beyond the internationally recognized territorial seas limit of 12 nautical miles (19.3 kilometers).
As far as the contested territory is concerned, such invasions are nothing new. Japan has been in charge of the uninhabited islands since 1972, despite the fact that both Tokyo and Beijing claim them as their own. Despite Beijing’s view of Taiwan as a Chinese province, Taiwan also claims the islands.
The rocky chain southwest of Tokyo, 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) in length, has been a source of tension for generations, with claims stretching back hundreds of years.
According to Chinese officials, China has the right to conduct maritime patrols near the islands because of its territorial integrity. Neither China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor China’s Ministry of National Defense immediately replied to requests for comment on the Japanese coast guard’s announcement Friday.
In 2012, Tokyo bought some of the islands from a private Japanese owner. The Japanese coast guard said the latest incursion of the Chinese government warships has been the longest stretch of time in the waters since then.
The previous record for the length of an intrusion was held by a Chinese ship in October 2020, which remained for over 57 hours.
The recent incident comes at a time when tensions between the two nations are rising, mainly because China is wary of Japan’s relationship with the United States.
Two Chinese ships and a supply ship were detected in the Izu Islands, 310 miles south of Tokyo, by Japan’s Defense Ministry earlier this week. These ships looked to include one of China’s most formidable surface ships, China’s Type 055 guided-missile destroyer, Lhasa.