Tokyo: In what could inflame more tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over South China Sea, three Chinese ships on Friday entered into Japanese territorial water near the disputed Senkaku Islands.
According to CNN, the ships were staying despite receiving a warning from a Japanese Coast Guard ship.
Responding to the situation, Japan sent eight jet fighters and another plane to the area, according to Japan`s Defence Ministry.
On December 13, a Chinese airplane was spotted above small islands controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, the first time a Chinese aircraft had allegedly violated airspace over the islands and the latest in a brewing territorial spat.
Japan had levied a formal protest later in the day, but China said it was merely carrying out a normal operation.
The islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese have been at the centre of a territorial dispute. The purchase of the islands by the Japanese government earlier this year from private Japanese owners set off massive anti-Japanese rallies in China.
Japanese ships have been patrolling the area around the islands in the East China Sea, on the lookout for approaching Chinese ships. Chinese ships have darted in and out the waters in that area in recent months.
Some analysts say China-Japan tensions are at their highest in years. Japanese exports have tumbled since relations soured.
(With Agency inputs)