Chinese vessels drive out Japanese boats from disputed islands



Beijing: Tension between Japan and China heightened today after eight Chinese naval vessels drove out Japanese fishing boats out of waters surrounding the disputed islands in East China Sea.

The Chinese flotilla, the biggest to sail into the disputed waters in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago in September, forced the Japanese fishing boats out of waters surrounding the islands this morning, thwarting the attempts of "Japanese right wingers," China State Oceanic Administration said.

The uninhabited islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan, are administered by Japan and guarded by the Japanese Coast Guard.

Three Chinese ships on regular patrol duty spotted several Japanese vessels in the waters yesterday morning. The administration immediately ordered another five ships in the East China Sea to meet the three ships, a report by state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The latest clash over the islands came as nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo, seen as a potent symbol of Japan's imperialist past.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying slammed the visit to the shrine honouring those China views as war criminals.

"No matter in what form and identity, the intent of the Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine is to deny the history of Japanese militarist aggression," Hua said.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday vowed to "expel by force" any Chinese landing on islands at the centre of a territorial row, after the vessels sailed into disputed waters yesterday.

"We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land," Abe told the Japanese parliament.

Abe's comments came after attempts were made by right wing Japanese activists to land on the islands. A similar attempt last year triggered China's aggressive to patrol in the area.

Hua informed that China has lodged protest to Japan over the moves of the activists. "To my knowledge the Japanese right wing boats left the area, "she said.

She urged the Japanese side to take meaningful action to win the trust of the international community, in order to avoid harming itself and others or isolating itself. "Only when Japan learns from history can it embrace the future," Hua said.

PTI