Japan protests Chinese fishery inspections in Senkaku waters

September 21, 2012


Chinese fishery monitoring officers boarded Chinese fishing boats in waters near the Senkaku Islands Sept. 20 and carried out inspections, acting as if the waters lay within Beijing's exclusive economic zone.

Japan's Foreign Ministry delivered a protest to the Chinese Embassy.

Two Chinese patrol ships intercepted seven fishing boats in what Japan considers to be its exclusive economic zone. As each boarding took place, the Japan Coast Guard reacted by warning the Chinese ships they were infringing Japanese sovereignty.

Chinese officers aboard the patrol ships responded, insisting their actions were "correct."

It is believed China carried out the boarding operations in order to underscore its claim to sovereignty of the Senkakus, which it calls Diaoyu, and of the waters nearby.

The Japan Coast Guard said the first boarding took place at around 10:50 a.m., about 43 kilometers north-northwest of Kubashima island. The Yuzheng 204, a patrol ship, intercepted a Chinese fishing boat and three officers went aboard.

At about 12:40 p.m., the same crew boarded three more fishing boats about 63 km north of the island.

Around 50 minutes later, the Yuzheng 201 intercepted three further fishing boats about 64 km north-northwest of the island and carried out similar boardings.

All incidents took place inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. Each lasted about 10 minutes and was believed to have been an inspection.

The Japan Coast Guard said similar action was observed July 13.

It said the border between the exclusive economic zones of Japan and China remains in dispute.

Japan maintains that the border follows the median line between the two nations, while China says waters around the Senkakus lie within its exclusive economic zone.

Noda addressed the islands dispute in a TV program, Sept. 20.

"We will not change our claim," he said. "The government will not change its policy of holding the islands in state ownership. Our position is there is no issue over sovereignty."

Noda said a meeting with a Chinese leader is unlikely to happen soon, saying, "Talks would not be meaningful if both leaders refuse to give an inch."

But he added: "Japan will not initiate provocative acts. There is a need to communicate with each other properly."

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