Japan’s defense minister vowed Sunday to defend the country’s territory as three Chinese government ships entered disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea, the first such incident this year.
The Chinese coastguard vessels sailed into the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters at about 8:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, Japan’s coastguard said. They left less than two hours later.
“We can never overlook repeated incursions into territorial waters,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters.
“We need to make diplomatic efforts on one hand. We also want to firmly defend our country’s territorial sea and land with the Self-Defence Forces cooperating with the Coast Guard,” he added.