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Japan Protests After Chinese Ships Enter Territorial Waters Near Disputed Islands, Reports Say

© REUTERS / KyodoA group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea (File)
A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea (File)  - Sputnik International
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TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan has filed a diplomatic protest against China over violations of its maritime border by Chinese patrol vessels near the disputed Senkaku islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao islands, Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.

According to the agency, citing multiple sources, the protest was issued by the Japanese Foreign Ministry to the Chinese Embassy by phone as well as via the Japanese Embassy in China.

On 8 May, four Chinese patrol ships one by one entered the Japanese territorial waters, with two of them trying to pursue a fishing vessel there. A similar incident took place earlier in the day when four patrol ships emerged near the border, with two of them crossing into the Japanese territory.

U.S. Army soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and South Korean soldiers take their position during a demonstration of the combined arms live-fire exercise as a part of the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at the Rodriquez Multi-Purpose Range Complex in Pocheon, north of Seoul, South Korea. (File) - Sputnik International
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The islands in question have been an object of territorial disputes between Tokyo and Beijing for a long time. Japan maintains it has them since 1895. China, on its part, has been claiming that the islands are marked as a Chinese territory on Japanese maps circa 1783 and 1785.

Following World War II, the islands were controlled by the United States and handed over to Japan in 1972. Both Taiwan and mainland China claim that Japan has been illegally seizing them while Tokyo rebuts that they have begun claiming the islands for themselves after in the 1970s the surrounding water area was found to be full of valuable minerals.

The tensions have exacerbated after the Japanese government bought three of the islands from a private owner in 2012.

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