230 Chinese fishing boats near disputed islets
SOME 230 Chinese fishing vessels and seven coast guard ships, including four apparently carrying weapons, sailed into waters close to disputed East China Sea islands, Japan’s foreign ministry and coastguard said.
Six Chinese coast guard ships were spotted on August 6, Japanese officials said, while another, which seemed to be carrying arms, was spotted later in the contiguous waters of the uninhabited islands.
The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the rocky islets – known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – but it is rare for so many Chinese fishing vessels to be spotted in the disputed waters.
“We cannot be sure about what the Chinese coast guards are doing for what purposes in the waters,” a Japanese coast guard official said.
The 230 fishing vessels and seven coast guard boats remained in the area for nine hours.
After catching sight of the coast guard ships in the contiguous waters at 8:05am, the Japanese foreign ministry lodged a protest with the Chinese embassy in Tokyo. –