The Straits Times
Published on Sep 24, 2012

2 Chinese ships near disputed isles: Japan coastguard


TOKYO (AFP) - Two Chinese ships entered waters around Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea early on Monday, the Japanese coastguard said, as tensions mount over the disputed chain.

As of 7am (6am, Singapore time), two Chinese maritime surveillance ships were spotted in waters off Kubashima and Uotsurijima, it said, adding that four patrol ships were in "contiguous" waters just outside the territory.

Asia's two largest economies have wrangled about the Japan-administered islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, since the 1970s, but the row flared in August after pro-China activists landed on one of them.

Tensions escalated dramatically after the Japanese government bought three of them from their private owners.