The pair of Chinese Coast Guard ships sailing around Aomori Prefecture in the Sea of Japan complied with Japan’s initial request. Two hours after they left, the same ships were identified in a separate part of the Sea of Japan, the Japan Times reported Monday.
The intrusion near Okinoshima Island and Tsushima Island marked the first confirmed entry of Chinese boats in the area, according to the Japanese Coast Guard.
Four more Chinese ships were discovered coasting around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Monday as well, JT noted, which are controversially claimed by Japan as the Senkaku Islands and by China as the Diaoyu Islands. Taiwan also claims the islands as their own.
The two small islands are administered by Japan but China’s Sea Air Defense Identification Zone has covered the little territories since 2013 and asked that all aircraft provide flight plan information if they plan on going through the area.
Japan allows Chinese ships to fish around Senkaku/Diaoyu, but in a 1997 agreement signed by the two countries the waters were formally excluded from China’s exclusive economic zone.
According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea any vessel can rightfully cruise into territorial waters if they don’t pose a threat or harm the host country.