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China ships in disputed waters: Japan coastguard

Published on Feb 23, 2014 11:58 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Three Chinese coastguard ships sailed through disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea on Sunday, the latest such incident in a bitter territorial row between the Asian giants.

The Chinese vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters off one of the Senkakus, which China claims and calls the Diaoyus, at around 9am (8am Singapore time) and left the area around two hours later, the Japan Coast Guard said.

It was the fifth time this year that state-owned Chinese ships entered the zone and the first in six days.

Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the East China Sea archipelago - thought to harbour vast natural resources - after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest round in a long-running territorial dispute.

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