17:45 GMT +317 November 2019
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    This file picture taken on October 18, 2015 shows Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) escort ship Kurama (L) sailing with other ships during a fleet review off Sagami Bay, Kanagawa prefecture

    Tokyo Vows 'Firm' Response to Beijing for Hundreds of Ships in East China Sea

    © AFP 2019 / Toru YAMANAKA / FILES
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    In the wake of the Hague’s recent ruling on the South China Sea, tensions between Japan and China over another long-lasting territorial dispute in the East China Sea have increased dramatically, with both parties claiming rights to the Senkaku/Diaoyudao Islands and surrounding waters.

    On Monday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga accused Beijing of 14 violations throughout the past weekend of what Tokyo considers its sovereign territory, vowing a “firm,” but “calm” response to the Chinese side.

    Suga said that Japan’s Coast Guard will work with other national agencies to respond to developments. The Japanese Defense Minister, Tomomi Inada, also added that air raids over Chinese vessels will be conducted.

    On Sunday, the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) reported two Coast Guard ships conducting raids near Diaoyudao Islands, the Chinese name for the Senkaku Islands. A day earlier, some 230 Chinese fishing boats had been spotted in the same area by the Japanese side, causing Tokyo’s sharp response.

    According to Japanese authorities, 14 Chinese ships have sailed into the waters near the Senkaku since Friday, and 12 remain there as of Monday. Additionally, Japan discovered Chinese surface radar on a gas drilling platform on the southeast border of the region, said to be designed to detect ships.

    In this photo released by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of Japan, a Chinese coast guard vessel sails near disputed East China Sea islands Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016
    © AP Photo / 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
    In this photo released by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of Japan, a Chinese coast guard vessel sails near disputed East China Sea islands Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016

    The incidents led to a tense diplomatic exchange between the countries. Japan’s foreign ministry summoned Chinese diplomats on Saturday, calling the crossings an “unacceptable” act that raises tensions. The same day Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a response on the government site, claiming Beijing has sovereignty over the islands and surrounding waters.

    The confrontation between the two neighbors over the East China Sea commenced following the end of the World War II, when Tokyo occupied large swaths of Chinese lands.

    The spike in tensions follows a ruling of the International Court on the complex dispute in the South China Sea. The recent order stated that Beijing has no historical rights for areas it claims. Beijing has refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court.

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    Tags:
    tensions, dispute, Japanese Foreign Ministry, Japanese Defense Ministry, Senkaku Islands, East China Sea, China, Japan
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