Chinese surveillance ship intrudes near Senkakus

For a tenth time since September, a Chinese surveillance ship has ventured into Japanese territorial waters in southern Okinawa, near the disputed Senkaku Islands.

The Japan Coast Guard says the latest incursion over the weekend found the Chinese ship close to three islets in the Senkaku chain in the East China Sea.  The islands are under Japanese control, but China, which calls them Diaoyu, says they actually belong to that nation.

When approached by the Japan Coast Guard and instructed to leave the area, the request was rebuffed with a reply that the Chinese ship was simply carrying out standard navigation activities.  China has been ratcheting up its operations in the Senkakus area since Japan purchased and nationalized the three islands.

In addition to the ship operating in Japanese territorial waters, the Coast Guard says two other Chinese surveillance vessels entered the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Island.  It was the 15th consecutive day Chinese ships have approached the disputed but uninhabited islands.