Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Defying Japan, China sends ships to disputed islands

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-09-15

Six Chinese ships entered waters surrounding a disputed island chain claimed by both China and Japan on Friday amid deteriorating relations between the two regional powers, prompting Japan to summon its Chinese ambassador in protest.

Six Chinese ships sailed into waters around a disputed archipelago on Friday, with Beijing saying they were there for "law enforcement" around islands Japan nationalised earlier this week.

The move -- dubbed "unprecedented" by Tokyo -- marked the latest stage in a deteriorating row between Asia's two biggest economies and came as reports emerged of Japanese nationals being physically attacked in China.

Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest what it insists is an incursion into territorial waters around islands it controls, called Senkaku, but claimed by Beijing as Diaoyu.

However, China was resolute, with the foreign ministry issuing a forthright statement claiming the boats were patrolling sovereign territory.

"Two Chinese surveillance ship fleets have arrived at waters around the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islands on September 14, 2012 to start patrol and law enforcement," the statement said.

"These law enforcement and patrol activities are designed to demonstrate China's jurisdiction over the islands and safeguard its maritime interests."

Japan's coast guard said the ships had all arrived by 7:00 am (2200 GMT Thursday), with three of them having left the area by 8:30 am.

Coastguard vessels were on scene, demanding the ships leave, a spokesman said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda established a task force to deal with the issue on Friday morning and his foreign ministry summoned China's ambassador, Cheng Yonghua, to lodge a protest.

"We understand that (the dispatch of) six ships is surely an unprecedented case, considering past incidents," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters.

Fujimura said Yonghua had reiterated Beijing's claims to the islands in the East China Sea, which lie around 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the Okinawan capital of Naha and 200 kilometres from Taiwan.

"The Japanese government stated its position firmly about the issue of Senkaku, while asking him about the safety of Japanese nationals in China."

Japan urged "that China do its utmost -- above all else -- to secure the safety of Japanese nationals in China," he said.

Fujimura's comments come as the Japanese consulate in Shanghai reported physical attacks on its nationals.

"A group was dining late at night, and they were harassed and assaulted by Chinese," said a statement on the consulate's website.

The consulate said bottles were thrown at some Japanese, and drinks and food were poured over others, while one person reported having a pair of glasses broken.

Japan's foreign ministry has warned its nationals who are in China or who are planning to visit there to be aware of anti-Japanese demonstrations and to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

The embassy in Beijing said Japanese should avoid approaching the building, where protests have been reported, unless absolutely necessary.

Relations between the two countries -- often rocky because of a difficult history -- have worsened since pro-Beijing nationalists landed on one of the islands in August.

They were arrested and deported by Japan, but followed days later by Japanese nationalists, who raised their flag there.

Anti-Japanese protests broke out in China and have continued since Japan on Tuesday announced it had nationalised three of the islands in the chain. It already owns another and leases the fifth.

The purchase was intended at least partially to head off an attempt to buy them by Tokyo's provocative Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who charged Japan was not doing enough to protect its territory.

Commentators say Noda's solution -- nationalising the islands and continuing its policy of doing nothing with them -- was an attempt to navigate between rising nationalism at home and China's growing assertiveness on the oceans.

But Beijing's reaction has been sharper than many analysts expected. Some observers have pointed to the forthcoming leadership change in China's Communist Party and say the islands issue is being used as a way to distract public attention from the less-than-smooth transition.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-09-14

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    Japan to buy disputed Senkaku islands

    Read more

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    Japan flies Chinese island activists home

    Read more

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    China warns Japan to halt visit to disputed islands

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)