Chinese Ambassador summoned over Senkaku incident

Only two days after Japan’s Prime Minister issued a stern warning to China to keep its planes and ships away from the Senkaku Islands, China did it again anyway, and now Tokyo has summoned the Chinese Ambassador for a scolding.

Beijing sent vessels to waters around the Senkaku Islands Monday, with China showing little regard to warnings from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Neither side is showing signs of backing down in the dispute, with Tokyo calling Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to hear Japan’s “strong protest”.

“The foreign ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador over ships entering the waters near Senkaku islands,” says an official, referring to a chain claimed as the Diaoyus by Beijing.   Japan’s Coast Guard says two maritime surveillance vessels arrived in the area about 9:30 a.m., remaining more than 14 hours.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the Chinese actions “absolutely unacceptable”.

China’s extension of the dispute to aircraft over Japanese waters has added a new dimension since December.  Japan’s reaction has been scrambling jet fighters to warn the planes off.  Abe on Saturday vowed to defend Japan from “provocations”.  His comments in Okinawa came only days after his government approved an increase in defense spending for the first time in more than a decade.