China challenges Japan’s territorial claims to disputed waters in the East China Sea

BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry on Thursday denied Japan’s territorial claims to disputed waters in the East China Sea, calling the move a “serious violation” of Chinese sovereignty.

“The Chinese coast guard vessels have been enforcing the law on the spot in accordance with the law, it is a legitimate measure to safeguard Chinese sovereignty,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a press briefing. regular.

Wang made the remarks in response to a question about the Japanese Coast Guard saying that Chinese Coast Guard vessels violated Japanese territorial waters around the disputed islets in the East China Sea.

The region is claimed by both China and Japan and has long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu while Japan calls them Senkaku.

The Chinese Coast Guard said on Wednesday it entered the waters around the disputed islets in the East China Sea to counter what it called the incursion of Japanese vessels into Chinese territorial waters.

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Chinese maritime police spokesman Gan Yu said in a statement that the coast guard vessels had entered Diaoyu waters for a “normal rights protection patrol”, calling it a “routine movement “.

“(It is also a strong countermeasure to the Japanese side’s intrusion of a yacht and several patrol vessels into our territorial waters,” Gan said, though he did not specify any incidents.

The Chinese Coast Guard said in late January that the Shinsei Maru and four other Japanese vessels had illegally entered the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands before being chased away by Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Tokyo, the first such meeting in Japan for more than a decade, at a time when the United States hopes the two neighbors will be able to form a more united union. front against Beijing.

Reporting by Eduardo Baptista and the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra and Christina Fincher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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