China late on Thursday said that its coast guard issued a warning to a Japanese fishing boat operating in waters surrounding uninhabited islands that are controlled by Japan, but claimed by China.
Chinese state media quoted Chinese Coast Guard spokesman Gan Yu (甘羽) as saying that a Chinese vessel issued a “warning to depart” to Japanese fishing boat the Zuiho Maru on Thursday near Chiwei Islet (赤尾嶼) in the Diaoyutais (釣魚台), which Taiwan also claims.
Tokyo calls the islet Taisho and Beijing calls it Chiwei Yu.
The islet is the easternmost of the eight islands making up the archipelago, which Japan calls the Senkakus.
The Chinese statement said that the Japanese boat “illegally entered the territorial waters of Chiwei Island, and the Chinese Coast Guard ships took necessary control measures and warned them to leave.”
“We urge the Japanese side to immediately stop all illegal activities in the waters to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again,” the statement said.
There was no immediate word on whether the Japanese vessel complied with the order or if further action was taken.
Japan regularly scrambles jets and dispatches ships to ward off Chinese incursions into the air and waters surrounding the islands.
China’s insistence on sovereignty over the islands is part of its expansive territorial claims in the Pacific, including to underwater resources in the region.
The islands lie between Taiwan and Okinawa, 330km off the Chinese coast.
Following World War II, they were administered by the US and returned to Japanese sovereignty in 1972.
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