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Coast guard blocks boat at Senkakus

Date Posted: 2004-05-20

A Chinese fishing vessel was turned away from Japanese waters early this week after illegally entering sovereign territory.

The Japanese Coast Guard took the action Monday after the incident near a disputed island chain.

A spokesman, Akira Miyahira, says the Chinese boat was located 20 km northwest of Uotsuri Island, one of five uninhabited islands claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing. China calls the islands the Diaoyu, but Japan,which controls the islands, calls them the Senkaku.

Miyahira said the Chinese boat entered the Japanese waters illegally, but could not respond whether it was there to fish or make a statement about the territorial dispute. Following the coast guard warning, the Chinese boat left Japanese waters.

The islands have long been a source of friction between Japan and China. Japan says it has controlled the islands since defeating China in a war more than a century ago, but China says it had sovereignty over the islands centuries before Japan claimed control.

Japanese authorities arrested seven Chinese activists and deported them last March after they landed on one of the islands to protest Tokyo's control.

Boatloads of activists from China and Taiwan periodically try to visit the chain but are usually kept back by the coast guard.

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