The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
China to conduct naval exercises in East China Sea
China will conduct naval exercises on Friday in the East China Sea, the site of disputed islands that have strained ties between Tokyo and Beijing, state media said.
Both sides have adamantly pressed their claims to the Tokyo-controlled islands – known as the Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan – and the row has caused diplomatic and economic fallout between the historic rivals.
“The exercise is aimed at... sharpening their response to emergencies in missions to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”, the official Xinhua news agency on Thursday quoted a navy statement as saying.
China has sent maritime surveillance ships and fisheries patrol vessels near the islands in recent weeks as the row has escalated, and on Wednesday a Chinese naval flotilla passed near the islands.
Friday’s exercises will include vessels from the marine surveillance agency and fishery administration, both of which the statement said “have been stalked, harassed and even intentionally interfered with by foreign vessels”.
The dispute flared in August after nationalists from both countries landed on the islands and Tokyo later nationalised some of them.
Chinese citizens staged massive demonstrations in many cities, forcing Japanese firms to suspend or reduce operations, and official events, passenger flights and other events involving the two sides have been cancelled.
Trade between the two countries topped US$300 billion last year.