China-Japan tensions over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands refuse to subside as the Japanese government on Tuesday summoned the Chinese ambassador to lodge a protest over four Chinese reconnaissance ships, which had steamed around in waters for half a day near the disputed islands.
The disputed islands, known as Senkakus in the Japanese language and Diaoyu in the Chinese language, are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan. But these uninhabited islands in the East China Sea are under the sovereignty of Japan currently.
The Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister, Akitaka Saiki, ordered the Chinese ambassador, Cheng Yonghua, to come to the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry. The agitated Japanese governmental response, under the leadership of right-wing PM, Shinzo Abe, came after the four Chinese surveillance ships remained in waters off the disputed islands for about 13 hours on Monday. The Chinese naval surveillance ships sailed in the waters off the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands until just after midnight on early Tuesday.
The latest bout of Japan-China tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands represents the 21st and lengthiest Chinese naval intrusion into maritime areas regarded by the Japanese State as its territory. The Japanese Coast Guard swiftly expressed its displeasure over the Chinese naval actions.
China-Japan tensions over the unpopulated Senkaku/Diaoyu islands heightened after Tokyo purchased the islands from their private Japanese owners in September. China responded agitatedly to this Japanese move, organising demonstrations and boycotting Japanese products.
On December 13, 2012, a Chinese state-owned airplane flew into the airspace above the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which triggered a formal protest from Japan. Beijing, however, emphasised that it was conducting a normal operation.