Chinese patrol boat. (Photo: www.msa.gov.cn)
Japan protests against Chinese fishery inspections
Friday, September 21, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Japanese authorities have delivered a protest to the Chinese Embassy in Japan over Chinese fishery inspections near the Senkaku Islands on 20 September. On this date, Chinese fishery monitoring officers boarded Chinese fishing boats and conducted inspections -- even though the waters lay outside Beijing's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Two Chinese patrol ships stopped seven fishing boats in what Japan says is its territory. During each boarding, Japan’s Coast Guard warned the Chinese ships that they were violating Japanese sovereignty. The Chinese officers insisted their actions were "correct."
Some stipulate that China carried out these activities to highlight its claim to sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, which it calls Diaoyu, and of the surrounding waters.
In fact, the Chinese Government said it intends to maintain patrol ships and maybe even hundreds of fishing boats close to the disputed islands for quick access to the territory at any time. This move is meant to pressure Japan and to demonstrate its claim of sovereignty to the rest of the world, The Asahi Shimbun reports.
“We will put pressure on Japan through public-private efforts,” said a senior official of the Agriculture Ministry’s Fisheries Bureau. “We will send monitoring ships in waves, and have them remain around the Diaoyu Islands at all times to display our will to defend our sovereignty.”
The Japan Coast Guard said the first boarding occurred at around 10:50 a.m., about 43 km north-northwest of Kubashima island. The patrol ship Yuzheng 204 intercepted a Chinese fishing boat and three officers got on board.
At about 12:40 p.m., the same crew boarded three more fishing boats about 63 km north of the island.
Roughly 50 minutes later, the Yuzheng 201 intercepted three additional fishing boats about 64 km north-northwest of the island and carried out similar boardings.
All the incidents, which lasted about 10 minutes, were believed to have been inspections and took place inside Japan's EEZ. The Japan Coast Guard also said that similar actions were observed in mid-July.
The border between the EEZs of Japan and China remains in dispute, Japan’s Coast Guard said. Japan asserts that the border follows the median line between the two countries but China insists that waters around the Senkakus lie within its EEZ.
"We will not change our claim," Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda said. "The government will not change its policy of holding the islands in state ownership. Our position is there is no issue over sovereignty."
He also said a meeting with China would be pointless “if both leaders refuse to give an inch.”
"Japan will not initiate provocative acts. There is a need to communicate with each other properly," he added.
Shares of Japan Airlines tumbled late this week after the airline announced it was no longer serving flights to China as a result of the dispute, CNNMoney reports.
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