TOKYO, Oct. 18 (UPI) — Japan’s coast guard said Chinese vessels trespassed into territorial waters for the 30th time in 2016.
Tokyo stated four Chinese coast guard ships approached the disputed Senkaku Islands on Tuesday between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., near the islands of Uotsuri and Kuba.
The boats were seen again at around 10 a.m. near the island of Minako, where they lingered for about an hour-and-a-half, according to Tokyo.
Japan’s coast guard is monitoring the seas in response to the presence of the boats near the islands that are also claimed by China and Taiwan.
Japan’s foreign ministry protested the latest movements, and told Chinese diplomats in Tokyo that the Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory.
In August, Chinese coast guard and fishing boats approached the Senkakus, maneuvers that were captured on video taken by Japan’s coast guard.
The presence of Chinese fishing boats in South Korean waters has also sparked a diplomatic dispute between Seoul and Beijing.
But on Tuesday, Beijing’s foreign ministry told reporters the Chinese government is in discussions with South Korea over the recent sinking of a South Korean patrol boat by a Chinese boat that was engaging in illegal fishing.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said order should be maintained among fishing vessels and maintained “bilaterally” after China canceled a joint crackdown on illegal fishing boats last Friday.