Tokyo [Japan], January 3 (ANI): Japan's coast guard on Monday said that more Chinese ships tried to enter the country's territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
As per Japan Coast Guard officials, 18 cases of Chinese government vessels approaching Japanese boats were confirmed in 2021, up from eight cases in 2020, reported NHK World.
Tensions have escalated in the recent past between Japan and China over Senkaku island amid rising Chinese activities in waters surrounding the islands.
Japan controls the islands. The Japanese government maintains that they are an inherent part of Japan's territory. Meanwhile, both China and Taiwan claim them.
The Japan Coast Guard also reported 34 cases of Chinese government vessels sailing into Japanese waters last year. That's up 10 from the previous year, reported NHK World.
Chinese ships sailed within the contiguous zone outside Japan's territorial waters on 332 days in 2021, almost the same as the previous year's record of 333 days.
China is increasing its maritime activities. Last February, the country enacted a law allowing its coast guard to forcibly remove foreign ships that it says illegally enter the country's waters, and to use weapons against them if they do not comply with certain orders, reported NHK World.
An expert on international maritime law said that China's moves could further intensify.
Kobe University Professor Emeritus Sakamoto Shigeki said that China intends to undermine Japan's effective control of the islands by cracking down on Japanese fishing boats, reported NHK World.
Considering the Chinese ante, the Japan Coast Guard is stepping up its vigilance. It plans to add 10 large patrol vessels to its fleet by fiscal 2025. (ANI)