Chinese ships again in waters near Senkaku islets

It’s becoming almost routine; Chinese patrol ships are again in waters near the Senkaku Islands, sending Japanese Coast Guard vessels into oversight mode.

Four maritime surveillance ships operated by China’s State Oceanic Administration are now spotted some 35 kilometers northwest of Uotsurijima, the largest of the five Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.  All are close, in the contiguous zone outside Japanese  territorial waters.

China has claimed the Japanese-controlled islands.  Aside from surveillance ships, a fishery patrol vessel, the Yuzheng 202 operated by the Chinese Agriculture Minhistry’s Fisheries Bureau, was 42 kilometers west-northwest of Kubajima, also in the uninhabited Senkaku chain, which the Chinese call Diaoyu.  The Chinese ships first showed up October 10th.

The United ‘States is reportedly ready to send a group of former national security officials to Japan and China in the coming days to mediate efforts to mend diplomatic ties frayed by China and Japan over the dispute.  Veteran U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is visiting Japan to meet with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to try promoting closer communication on the issues.

Although not representing the U.S. in a formal or official capacity, the group will visit Beijing and hold talks with Chinese officials, including Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Dai Bingguo.