China ships patrol disputed islands in East, South China Sea
Beijing: China has pressed its surveillance ships to patrol disputed islands in the East China Sea as well as the South China Sea amid raging maritime tensions with Japan and several other South East Asian countries.
A fleet of three Chinese marine surveillance ships continued to patrol territorial waters off China's Diaoyu Islands on Saturday, according to the China State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
Separately two fleets of Chinese marine surveillance ships are carrying out regular patrol missions simultaneously on the South China Sea, SOA said.
While China and Japan are involved in a raging dispute over the islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan in the East China Sea, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia have questioned China's claims over the South China Sea.
Two ships arrived in the waters south to the Xisha Islands, also claimed by Vietnam. They would continue patrolling to the south, the SOA statement said.
The second mission has also started as Haijian 262 and 263 left Sanya to patrol on the waters near the Beibu Gulf.
Both fleets found no foreign intruders or unusual situations, the statement said.
Chinese marine surveillance ships carried out 58 patrol missions on the South China Sea in 2012, according to the SOA.
On Thursday, SOA director Liu Cigui said that the country will continue to carry out regular patrols over its territorial waters off China's Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea to secure the nation's maritime rights and interests.
Meanwhile, a commentary by the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua criticised the US for its position on China's maritime dispute with Japan, saying it "cast doubts on (US) credibility as a responsible power in the region".
The comment came a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the area around the islands in the East China Sea was under Japan's control and therefore protected under a US security treaty with Tokyo.
It is "unwise" for Washington "to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo's islands dispute with Beijing", Xinhua said.
"This unbalanced position has betrayed its declared intention to stay neutral on the issue," it said.
It said the US proposal for "tighter military alliance with Japan will only encourage Tokyo's dangerously right-leaning tendency".