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Chinese patrol boats spotted near disputed islands in East China Sea

February 06, 2015, 13:26 UTC+3 TOKYO
The territorial dispute around the islands between Japan and China escalated after Tokyo announced plans to buy the islands from private owners in September 2012
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Japanese Coast Guard vessels near one of Senkaku Islands

Japanese Coast Guard vessels near one of Senkaku Islands

© AP Photo/Emily Wang

TOKYO, February 6. /TASS/. Two Chinese patrol boats have entered the zone of the East China Sea's Senkaku Islands that both Tokyo and Beijing consider their territorial waters, the local coast guard said on Friday.

The boats were seen near the disputed islands at around 3 p.m. local time (0600 GMT). The Japanese border guards have demanded that the boats should "immediately leave Japan’s territorial waters," without resorting to active actions against them.

Last year, Chinese vessels entered the area a total of 32 times.

The territorial dispute around the islands between Japan and China escalated after Tokyo announced plans to buy the islands from private owners in September 2012. Shortly after, mass anti-Japan demonstrations hit China.

Since then, Chinese vessels have constantly stayed near the disputed islands and entered the coastal area. This year, Japan’s Coast Guard plans to double its budget to more than $490 million.

The funds will be spent on purchases of new patrol boats and aircraft, and also organizing round-the-clock patrolling of the territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands.

In mid-January, Japan and China agreed to create a special communication tool to avoid unintended maritime clashes, which envisages setting up a "hot line" between the Japanese coast guard and China’s maritime police and also using a common radio frequency for communications in emergency situations.

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