Dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships have entered waters near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan’s coastguard boats have used water cannons in an effort to push the flotilla out of what Japan claims to be its territory.
At least 40 Taiwanese ships breached Japan’s naval border early on Tuesday, country’s coastguard said. The flotilla was met by Japanese patrol ships that used water cannons in order to stop the vessels from reaching the largest island in the area, Uotsuri-jima.
The vessels are part of a fleet that departed from Taiwan on Monday promising to claim the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands which Taipei says is part of their ancestral fishing grounds.
“Fishing rights are more important than sovereignty, but fishing rights also means sovereignty,” activist Chen Chunsheng, who is organizing the flotilla, told AFP.
The latest intrusion complicated the already tense confrontation between Tokyo against Beijing, which also has claims over the islands.
Relations between Japan and China have soared this month after Japan nationalized three of the islands, buying them from a private Japanese landowner. Beijing has protested and China has seen a massive nationalist upsurge. Now Taiwan, which China considers to be a province of its, is also stepping up efforts to claim the territory believed to be rich in energy resources.
Meanwhile, Japanese Vice-Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai is in Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun aimed at easing the tension.
- Taiwanese fishing flotilla muddies waters in China, Japan territorial dispute (newsonjapan.com)
- Taiwan flotilla leaves for disputed islands (nation.com.pk)
- Taiwan boats near disputed islands: Japan (news.com.au)
- Taiwan Flotilla Heads To Islands Disputed By China And Japan (rferl.org)
- Taiwanese fishing flotilla muddies waters in China, Japan territorial dispute (engineeringevil.com)
- Taiwan boats near disputed islands (bigpondnews.com)
- 70 Taiwan fishing boats head to Senkakus to protest “nationalization” (english.kyodonews.jp)
- China ships in waters off disputed isles – Japan coastguard (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- UPDATE1: 60 Taiwanese fishing boats leave for Senkakus (english.kyodonews.jp)
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