Thursday Sep 13, 201211:13 AM GMT
Taiwanese patrol ships set sail for disputed islands
File photo shows the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea.
File photo shows the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea.
Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:11AM
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Taiwan has dispatched two coastguard ships to waters near the disputed islands in the East China Sea, as territorial tensions are growing among Taiwan, China and Japan.

The vessels set sail for the archipelago (known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoya in China) on Thursday to offer round-the-clock protection for Taiwanese fishermen, according to a coastguard official.

The move came after Japan's public broadcaster NHK announced that the sales contract to buy the three uninhabited islands from the private owner was signed on Tuesday morning.

Shortly after the announcement by NHK, two Chinese patrol ships set sail for the resource-rich islands to “assert the country's sovereignty.”

China's Foreign Ministry on Monday warned that Beijing would not “sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated.”

The Chinese ministry said in a statement that “China strongly urges Japan to immediately stop all action to undermine China's territorial sovereignty and return to a negotiated settlement to the dispute. If Japan insists on going its own way, it will bear all the serious consequences that follow.”

Tokyo and Beijing have long been competing over the sovereignty of the islands, which would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in surrounding waters.

China, however, does not recognize the ownership of the Japanese Kurihara family.

In August, tensions heightened after Japan arrested 14 Chinese nationals when they landed on one of the islands to voice their opposition against Japan’s ownership of the islands.

Analysts say Tokyo has been enjoying Washington’s support in its island dispute with China, because Japan represents the regional interests of the United States.

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