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Japan says Chinese ships in disputed waters

Published on May 31, 2014 11:48 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Two Chinese coastguard ships sailed into disputed waters off Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea on Saturday, officials said, as the United States warned Beijing over increasing territorial assertiveness.

The Japanese coastguard said the vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile band of territorial waters around one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, around 10am (9am Singapore time).

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

Saturday's incursion was the first of official Chinese vessels into the disputed waters since May 2 and the 12th this year.

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