China defends actions of own patrol vessels near disputed islands
China views the activities of its coast guard boats against Japanese fishing boats in the waters surrounding the contentious Diaoyu Islands as entirely legal.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China views the activities of its coast guard boats against Japanese fishing boats in the waters surrounding the contentious Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, as entirely legal.
In response to two Chinese patrol vessels that attempted to approach Japanese fishing boats in the waters off of the Diaoyu Islands on Monday morning, the Japanese government, according to Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, registered a diplomatic protest with Beijing. It is worth noting that this incident marked the 15th of its kind this year.
"Diaoyu Dao and its affiliating islands have been part of China’s territory. The activities of Chinese vessels in the adjacent waters are legitimate and lawful. The Japanese side has no right to point fingers over these activities," Zhao added.
The Diaoyu Islands are the subject of expanded territorial claims from China and Japan. China cites Japanese maps from 1783 and 1785 that show the islands as being in Chinese territory, whereas Japan argues that its rule over the islands has been in place since 1895. The Diaoyu Islands came under US administration following World War II before being transferred to Japan in 1972.
Japan is of the opinion that China's claims to sovereignty over the islands stem from the 1970s discovery of lucrative minerals in their shelf waters. When the Japanese government acquired three of the five islands from a private owner in 2012, the territorial issue intensified.
The West and Japan have been trying to get China to condemn Moscow's operation in Ukraine, while Beijing is adamant about maintaining a neutral stance on the matter, while also strengthening economic ties with Russia.
The United States has repeatedly threatened China with consequences if it were to provide economic or military support to Russia. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested an Asian NATO consisting of major regional players like India and Japan, whereas AUKUS is also playing on the Taiwan field for pressure.