East China Sea threat: Tensions flare as armed Chinese ships enter Japanese waters | World | NewsFebruary 17, 2021
China sent two vessels into the waters near the Senkaku islands as it bids to spread its territorial claims. The islands have been claimed by both China and Japan over the years and have long been disputed. The operation comes as China enacted the new ‘Coast Guard Law’, which allows the country’s coastguard to use weapons.
The law also allows Chinese ships to take action if Beijing views any ship as entering its own territorial waters too.
In this instance, Japanese media claimed one of the Chinese vessels was armed with a cannon.
The two vessels joined two other ships today in a threat to Japan’s sovereignty.
According to Nikkei Asia, two ships had also threatened a Japanese fishing vessel.
The Japanese government soon lodged a complaint with China over the incursions and demanded the ships leave the area immediately.
It is thought today’s incursion is the seventh already this year.
Although the two ships left after being warned by the Japanese government, it is the latest show of force from Xi Jinping.
Ministers from the UK and Japan have previously voiced their concern over China’s increased military presence in both the East and South China Seas.
In a statement earlier this month from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Motegi Toshimitsu Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Kishi Nobuo, Minister of Defence of Japan, the four issued their concern over the region.
They said: “The four Ministers expressed serious concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea and strongly opposed any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions.
“The four Ministers reaffirmed the importance of upholding freedom of navigation and overflight above the South China Sea and urged all parties to exercise self-restraint and refrain from activities likely to raise tensions, in particular militarisation and coercion.
“They emphasised the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law as reflected in the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) that sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out and that all maritime claims must be based on the relevant provisions of the UNCLOS.”
China has also sparked concern over its persistent threats towards Taiwan.
Like the Senkaku Islands, China sees Taiwan as part of the mainland due to its historical claims.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin had previously claimed the islands as China’s “inherent territory”.
Chinese military jets have entered Taiwan’s airspace multiple times as a show of force.
Although Joe Biden has not completely outlined his view on matters in the region, Joe Biden has expressed a desire to maintain Donald Trump’s stance against Beijing.
While the two do not have official diplomatic ties, the US and Taiwan signed the Relations Act in 1979.
This allows the US to provide the nations with arms deals in the pursuit to maintain peace and security in the region.
Indeed, in 2020 arms deals to Taiwan amounted to £3.5billion.