Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno claimed that two Chinese ships had been seen close to the disputed Senkaku islands had been forced to leave by its Coast Guard, during a briefing in Tokyo on Friday.
“Two vessels belonging to the Chinese Maritime Police Bureau sequentially entered Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, and one of them was reported to be carrying what appeared to be artillery,” he alleged.
“Coast Guard patrol vessels repeatedly demanded these vessels … leave the territorial waters and restricted their course, forcing them to leave the territorial waters,” he continued.
“Such activities … are, in the first place, a violation of international law, and we have strongly protested this incident through diplomatic channels,” the secretary concluded.
Beijing also claims the uninhabited territory, which it refers to as the Diaoyu Islands, although it has not commented on the latest incident.
It comes a week after Chinese President Xi and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held talks in person, for the first time, at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Organisation (APEC) summit in Thailand.
Chinese media reported the Xi had told Kishida that they needed to resist ‘conflict and confrontation’, deepening mutual trust and co-operation.