The city government of Tokyo's survey vessel sails around a group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea. (Photo : Reuters)
Things are heating up in the East China Sea as a territorial dispute over a group of islands between Japan and China has taken a serious turn, with the situation bordering on ominous.
China technically has sovereignty over the islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. However, Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The United States took jurisdiction after World War II and then turned them over to Japan in 1972,
Like Us on Facebook
Tokyo tried to make ownership of the islands official this week, as chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters that the government had earmarked 2.05 billion yen ($26.3 million USD) to buy the islands from the Japanese family it recognizes as the owners. Fujimura said the purchase was a result of the government wanting to "maintain the Senkakus peacefully and stably."
At a daily briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, a spokesman maintained that China's long-held position is that the islands have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times and the government refuses to tolerate violations of its territorial integrity, the Wall Street Journal reports.
As such, it has been reported that two China Marine Surveillance vessels have been deployed to patrol the waters around the controversial island chain. China Marine Surveillance is a maritime law-enforcement agency that finds itself often in the center of territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.
"The determination and the will of the Chinese government and military to safeguard their territorial integrity are firm," Geng Yansheng, spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement. "We are closely monitoring the situation and reserve the right to take necessary measures."