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Report says Japan planning to send armed forces to East China Sea

The Chinese Coast Guard has expanded its presence in the contested water near the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japan as the Senkakus.
In this file photo, a P-3C patrol plane of Japanese maritime self defense force flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China in the East China Sea. (AFP Photo)
Published on Mar 07, 2021 10:44 PM IST
ANI | , Tokyo

Amid escalating tensions in the disputed East China Sea, Japan is mulling to send its armed forces to deal with the surge in Chinese activity in the Japanese-controlled Diaoyu Islands, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The Chinese Coast Guard has expanded its presence in the contested water near the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japan as the Senkakus.

The increased activity by China comes after it implements a new law that allows Beijing's quasi-military force to use weapons against foreign ships that Beijing sees as illegally entering its waters.

The frequency of Chinese coastguard vessels entering the waters has risen from twice a month last year to twice a week in February, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

A Japanese official said Tokyo was alarmed by the Chinese activities and was considering its response.

"Under our domestic law, the self-defence forces can use weapons as law enforcement against unlawful activities on behalf of our coastguard if the Chinese coastguard enters our territorial waters including surrounding the Senkaku Islands without permission," the SCMP quoted the official as saying.

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While stressing that Japan did not intend to escalate the situation, the official said Tokyo would try to increase pressure on China on the diplomatic front, such as seeking support from countries like Britain and Canada.

The islands in question have long been an object of territorial disputes between China and Japan.

Last month, Japan lodged a protest with China after two Chinese ships intruded into Japanese coastal waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, local media reported.

China has conflicting territorial claims with four of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam -- as well as Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, US warships carried out freedom of navigation operations in an apparent bid to challenge Chinese claims and actions in the area.

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