On 25 November, a Chinese coast guard vessel with the largest cannon crossed Japan’s territorial seas close to the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, per Japan’s coast guard.
The disputed Senkaku Islands, popularly known as Diaoyu Islands, are uninhabited islands Japan currently controls. Taiwan and China have reportedly claimed sovereignty over the islands for a while.
Chinese Vessel Alerts Japanese Coast Guard
As informed by the South China Morning Post, four ships belonging to the Chinese coastguard and the vessel were seen in the waters off the Japan-controlled uninhabited islets now claimed by China. This comes a few days after the leaders of the two major Asian economies met for the first time since 2019.
Chinese government ships have reportedly breached Japan’s maritime borders almost 32 times in 2022. For 23 days, Chinese vessels have been detected around the Senkaku Islands, even in the contiguous zone.
On 17 November, President Xi Jinping met with Japan’s PM, Fumio Kishida, in Bangkok. Fumio Kishida informed the media that he spoke with President Xi Jinping regarding his concerns about regional security.
Close to 2:35 am on Friday, two vessels reportedly sailed into Japan’s territorial waters, the second ship coming after the first. Two more arrived around 10 am, one armed with 76-mm cannon, per reports from Japan’s coast guard. Local reports disclose that China’s 76-millimetre cannon is the largest naval gun.
The most giant cannon the Japan Coast Guard had ever witnessed mounting on a Chinese ship of this kind was a 37-mm model until earlier November.
In a Japan Times report, Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, blasted Beijing later that day, claiming that marine activities of the Chinese coast guard were illegal if we were to follow international laws.
There have long been conflicts between the two East Asian nations over the Senkaku Islands. Japan considers the islets to be a key part of the Japanese territory.
China and Japan, as key global and Asian players and as close neighbours, have several mutual interests and sufficient room for collaboration. Following the historical meeting in Bangkok, a Chinese official media report claimed that China is ready to collaborate with Japan to maintain the bilateral relationship from a more strategic point of view.
Reuters informs that regional tensions have risen as Beijing starts advancing its claims over Taiwan. China raged war drills close to Taiwan in August 2022 and has never renounced deploying forces to annex the island.
In August 2022, Japan reportedly filed a diplomatic protest when five ballistic missiles fired by China’s military landed in the exclusive economic zone close to Japan’s Senkaku Islands and China’s Diaoyu Islands.
References: Tech Times, Kyodo News