Chinese vessels exit Japan's contiguous zone near Senkakus



Naha: Three Chinese fishing patrol ships that had made an unauthorised entry into Japanese waters have on Thursday left the country's contiguous zone around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

The Chinese fishing patrol ship "Yuzheng 204," which had made the unauthorised entry yesterday, was the last of the three to leave the contiguous zone near Japan's territorial waters, in which the Japanese law applies, at 5:10 AM (local time) today and sailed away from the Senkaku Islands, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters based in Okinawa Prefecture.

The "Yuzheng 202" Chinese vessel had already exited the zone yesterday night, followed by the "Yuzheng 35001" at around 4:40 AM today, it said.

The incident had prompted Tokyo to lodge a strong protest with Beijing as the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are said to be close to oil fields, are also claimed by China.

After the three Chinese boats entered Japan's waters around the Senkakus around 4:30 AM yesterday, they had been sailing in and out of the contiguous zone, according to the coast guard.

Yesterday, a Japanese Coast Guard vessel in the vicinity urged the Chinese ships to leave Japanese waters and the Chinese ships responded that they were conducting a "lawful act" within Chinese waters and urged the Japanese vessel to leave.

The Senkakus, which are called Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, are a group of uninhabited islets that are administered by Japan as part of the city of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.

PTI