Tensions mounts between Japan, China over maritime dispute

Japan said two Chinese vessels entered Japanese territorial waters near the disputed “Senkaku” or “Diaoyu” islands in the East China Sea on Sunday morning in an escalation of tensions between the two nations.

Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama complained to China’s Ambassador Cheng Yonghua that the incident had infringed on Japan’s sovereignty, according to a statement from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was Japan’s second protest to the ambassador in three days.

About 300 Chinese vessels have been “coming and going” around the islands, Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported on Sunday.

Earlier, on Saturday, Japan’s foreign affairs ministry said 230 Chinese fishing vessels and six Chinese Coast Guard ships were in the area and urged them to leave.

No comment was immediately available from China’s foreign affairs ministry on Sunday. On Saturday, the ministry urged Japan to stay calm and said it was taking steps to manage the situation.

The two Chinese vessels entered Japan’s territory about 10 a.m. Tokyo time on Sunday morning, the Japanese government said.

Friday’s complaint to the ambassador said that China had violated Japan’s sovereignty, after Chinese coastguard ships and an unspecified number of Chinese fishing boats entered Japanese territorial waters around the islands, according to Japan’s foreign affairs ministry.

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