Island dispute: Japan protests Chinese naval ship`s action

The China-Japan tensions over the contested islands in the East China Sea re-surfaced after a brief lull.

Updated: Feb 05, 2013, 19:49 PM IST

Beijing: The China-Japan tensions over the contested islands in the East China Sea re-surfaced after a brief lull as Beijing dismissed Tokyo`s protests over the continued patrolling of the territory by its vessels, one of which aimed a weapon-targeting radar at a Japanese Navy ship.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan, Cheng Yonghua rejected Japan`s protest over the continued patrol of Chinese marine surveillance ships in waters off the islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan.

Cheng had conveyed the message to Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki in Tokyo yesterday when he was summoned to receive the Japanese demarche protesting the Chinese ships patrol of the islands.

Cheng said the Chinese vessels are conducting regular patrols in Chinese territorial waters, and requested Japan not to interfere with this, state run CCTV reported today.

After a brief lull, China has sent two of its ships to islands this week. Earlier, both countries scrambled fighter jets to intercept surveillance planes.

The patrols were halted in recent weeks following diplomatic efforts by both the countries to re-establish serious dialogue to bring down the tensions.
The diplomatic moves followed after new government headed by hard-liner Sinzhou Abe took power in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Japanese officials said a Chinese patrol vessel has locked its weapon-targeting radar on a Japanese ship, which could result in "missteps" leading to conflict.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said the incident happened on January 30 near islands claimed by both nations in the East China Sea.

He said this had prompted Tokyo to lodge a formal protest with Beijing, BBC reported.

"On 30 January, something like fire-control radar was directed at a Japan Self-Defence Maritime escort ship in the East China Sea," Onodera told the media.

He identified the Chinese vessel as a navy frigate.

A Japanese military helicopter was also targeted with a similar radar a few days earlier.

"Directing such radar is very abnormal. We recognise it would create a very dangerous situation if a single misstep occurred," he said.

The two countries were locked in serious hostilities over the eight uninhabited islands, mostly rocks which lie close to strategically important shipping lanes. They also believed to contain rich fishing grounds and plush with oil deposits.