TOKYO (Sputnik) — According to the NHK broadcaster, four Chinese coast guard vessels approached the zone located near Japan's claimed exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East China Sea. This move mark's China's 10th time entering the area this year, with the last passage on Monday prompting strong criticism, as it considers these islands its territory. China, in turn, insists that its ships lawfully entered the waters, as they belong to the Chinese territory, the broadcaster suggested.
The eight uninhabited Senkaku Islands are both oil-rich and located near key international shipping routes. After World War II, their territory had been administered by the United States until 1972, when the islands were put under Japanese control by way of a bilateral US-Japanese agreement.
The islands, referred to Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyudao in China, are currently disputed between Japan and China and between Japan and Taiwan. Both China and Taiwan claim that the archipelago is part of Taiwan despite the internal disputes between the two countries. Japan refuses to recognize these claims and considers Senkaku as its territory, but the country's authorities do not allow the administration of the nearby Okinawa Prefecture to develop the islands.