Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Senkaku islands dispute escalates as China sends out patrol ships

China promises to 'safeguard territorial integrity' after Japan buys disputed islands in East China Sea

A territorial dispute between China and Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea has intensified after Beijing sent out two patrol ships in a show of anger after Tokyo bought the largely barren outcrops from their private owners.

The paramilitary China Marine Surveillance has drawn up plans to safeguard China's sovereignty of the islands and the ships were sent to assert those claims, said China's official news agency, Xinhua. The marine agency's ships are often lightly armed. The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are also claimed by Taiwan.

Tokyo announced a deal this week with the Japanese family it recognises as the owners. The chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura, told reporters the government had budgeted 2.05bn yen (£1.6m) for the purchase "to maintain the Senkakus peacefully and stably". The public broadcaster NHK said the government and the family had signed a deal on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Chinese defence ministry, Geng Yansheng, said in a statement: "The determination and the will of the Chinese government and military to safeguard their territorial integrity are firm. We are closely monitoring the situation and reserve the right to take necessary measures." Read More