China raises stakes in dispute over islands
This is the first time China has deployed naval frigates in the disputed waters.
Beijing: Tensions between China and Japan over a group of disputed islands reached a flashpoint today as China said it has deployed naval ships around the islets for the first time and slammed Japan for "internationalising" the dispute by raising it at United Nations.
Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun confirmed today that Chinese naval ships recently carried out patrolling and military training in waters off the Diaoyu Islands called Senkaku islets by Japan.
The confirmation came in response to Japanese media reports that two Chinese naval frigates were seen navigating waters off the Diaoyu Islands, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
This is the first time China has deployed naval frigates in the disputed waters. So far, it had been maintaining that it had sent a dozen maritime surveillance ships, akin to Coast Guard.
Also, over 1000 Chinese fishing boats which till recently kept off the area fearing detention by Japanese Coast Guard vessels began fishing around the waters.
Defending the move to deploy warships, Yang said Diaoyu Islands have been an inseparable part of Chinese territory since ancient times and it is legitimate for Chinese naval ships to carry out patrolling and training for military readiness in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.
Yang said the war of aggression by "Japanese militarists" had brought severe disasters to Asian people.
"Japan should learn from history and strictly keep to a purely defensive policy to build trust with its neighbouring countries and the international society," he said.
Meanwhile, the state television slammed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihido Noda for "internationalising" the island dispute by raking it up at the UN.