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Four Chinese ships enter disputed waters: Japan

Published on Nov 20, 2012 11:43 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Four Chinese government ships sailed into the territorial waters of disputed Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea on Tuesday, Japan's coastguard said.

The maritime surveillance vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around Minamikojima, one of the islands in the chain called the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China, shortly before 11 am local time.

Chinese vessels have been spotted in and around the territorial waters every day for the last month.

The sovereignty of the islands has been a source of friction for decades, but the row erupted earlier this year after the nationalist governor of Tokyo said he wanted to buy them for the city, forcing the Japanese government to nationalise them.