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Politics & Law

China sends ships to disputed Senkaku Islands

Senkaku Islands

Chinese state media said Tuesday that two government surveillance vessels had reached waters near the disputed Senkaku islands, a day after Japan announced it planned to purchase some of the islands from private owners.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said two China Marine Surveillance vessels had reached waters near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku on Tuesday morning in order to “assert the country’s sovereignty.”

The islands are known in Chinese as Diaoyu.

The presence of new Chinese government vessels near the Senkaku marks an effort by Beijing to assert its sovereignty claims over the disputed territory.

The government is under public pressure to more forcefully respond to Japanese moves to shore up control of the islands.

China Marine Surveillance is a paramilitary maritime law-enforcement agency that has found itself increasingly at the centre of territorial disputes between China and its neighbours.

Last spring, for example, at least one ship from the agency was engaged in a volatile and prolonged standoff with Philippine government vessels in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ships were armed or had encountered resistance from Japanese patrols in the area.

Japan has controlled the Senkaku for decades, though China has consistently said the islands have belonged to it since ancient times and Japanese moves to shore up control are illegal.

Click here for all stories about Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands)

Update Fri 14 Sep 2012: Six Chinese surveillance ships reach near islands disputed with Japan

Wall Street Journal

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