Japan-China Island WAR Begins! China Deploy drone to Korea, rope-off and blocked Filipino entry to Scarborough Shoal –Philippines (Updated: As of Sept. 25, 2012)

A Japanese patrol boat, left bottom, fires water cannon during a clash with Taiwanese fishing boats near disputed islands in the East China Sea. Picture: AP Source: AP

COASTGUARD vessels from Japan and Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan dueled with water cannon today after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around Tokyo-controlled islands.

Japanese coastguard ships sprayed water at the fishing vessels, footage on national broadcaster NHK showed, with the Taiwanese patrol boats retaliating by directing their own high-pressure hoses at the Japanese ships.

The large-scale breach of what Japan considers sovereign territory - one of the biggest since WWII - is the latest escalation in a row over ownership of the islands that pits Tokyo against Beijing and Taipei.

The intrusion complicates the already volatile territorial dispute with China. Taiwan has said that officers aboard some of the patrol ships sent to the area are fully-armed elite coastguard personnel.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a press conference that by 9am local time, eight Taiwanese coastguard and 40 fishing boats were in Japanese waters.

"We have made contact with the Taiwan authorities, and told them that they cannot enter our territorial waters," he said.

A spokesman for Taiwan's coastguard confirmed that nearly 60 boats got close to the islands, some coming within three nautical miles - well inside the 12-nautical-mile territorial exclusion zone.

Japan's coastguard said all vessels left territorial waters a few hours later.

The boats are part of a fleet that left Taiwan yesterday, vowing to stake their claim to islands where they say they have ancestral fishing rights.

More than 60 fishing boats flying Taiwan flags yesterday left Suao, a port in northeast Taiwan, with 300 fishermen and 60 reporters on board.

Japanese and Taiwanese coast guard patrol boats shadow each other during an ocean standoff over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Taiwan's coastguard sent at least 10 patrol boats alongside the vessels.

"We'll do everything to protect our fishermen. We do not rule out using force to fight back if Japan were to do so," Wang Chin-wang, head of the Coast Guard Administration, said in parliament.

Japan administers the uninhabited, but strategically well-positioned archipelago under the name Senkaku. Beijing says it has owned the islands for centuries and calls them Diaoyu.

Taiwan also claims the islands, which lie around 200 kilometres from its coast.

Ownership of the islands has become an important tenet of identity for all three claimants; the possible presence of energy reserves in the nearby seabed adds to the mix.

The last large intrusion into Japanese waters was in 1996, according to a spokesman at the Tokyo headquarters of the Japan Coast Guard.

He said at that time 41 ships carrying activists from Hong Kong and Taiwan entered waters around the islands with the intention of asserting sovereignty.

Chen Chun-sheng, the head of the Suao Fishermen Association, said at the weekend: "Diaoyutai has been our traditional fishing ground for centuries. We pledge to use our lives to protect it or we'd disgrace our ancestors."

Fujimura said Japan was handling today's situation as delicately as it could.

"All in all, we must continue to take utmost caution for policing of the areas surrounding the Senkaku islands. Agencies concerned must continue to closely coordinate their actions," he said.

"Japan's position is that, in light of good Japan-Taiwan relations, we must solve the issue peacefully. We wish to respond calmly."

Relations between Japan and China, meanwhile, have scraped long-unseen lows in recent weeks following Tokyo's nationalization of three of the islands, which it bought from a private Japanese landowner.

Several days of sometimes violent protests erupted in cities across China, where Japanese businesses were targeted by rioters.

Japan's coastguard said yesterday that of two of China's maritime surveillance ships had spent seven hours in territorial waters around Uotsurijima, the largest island in the chain.

Two fisheries patrol boats briefly also entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around the chain, the coastguard said.

Four marine surveillance ships and two fisheries patrol boats were in contiguous waters as of today, according to the coastguard.

None of the Chinese ships sent to the area belongs to the military. Both types of vessel are government-owned and used to enforce Chinese law in domestic waters.

China to Deploy Drones to Monitor Ieo Island, Korea's Ieo-Do

China is claiming once again that the submerged rocks of Ieo Island are part of its own territory and included them among places to be monitored by aerial drones. The move came six months after Liu Xigui, the director of China's State Oceanic Administration, said Beijing would now regularly patrol Chinese waters using both ships and surveillance aircraft.

China's State Oceanic Administration held a ceremony demonstrating the drones in Jiangsu Province on Sunday and said it would bolster control over its waters by using them, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday (September 24, 2012).

China also reiterated its claim to the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan, the Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Bank, and the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

Yu Qingsong, an official with the oceanic agency, said Beijing will set up a "comprehensive maritime control system" this year under a nine-year plan aimed at bolstering its maritime presence. China plans to build remote-controlled surveillance stations in coastal provinces by 2015 and expand drone patrols in Chinese waters.

Ieo Island is located in an area where the exclusive economic zones of Korea and China overlap but lies much closer to the Korean Peninsula, 149 km southwest of Korea's southernmost island of Mara.

The nearest Chinese island to Ieo Island is Tongdao off the coast of Jiangsu province, 245 km away. According to international practice, the mid-point of overlapping EEZs is chosen as a reference point, which means Ieo Island sits within Korea's zone. But China claims that the island falls under its jurisdiction since the length of its coastline and other factors would push its EEZ further east toward Korea.

China controlled Panatag Shoal of the Philippines guarding passage blocking Filipino entry to the Shoal

Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea remains roped off, with three Chinese vessels guarding it to keep Filipino fishermen out, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official said.

 

The official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the latest reconnaissance report showed that there were two Chinese maritime vessels and one fisheries ship at the shoal.

The rope that the Chinese strung across the mouth of the shoal's lagoon after a face-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels ended in mid-June to prevent Filipino fishermen from going there has not been removed, the official said.

The latest reconnaissance flight to Panatag Shoal was made "one to two weeks ago," he said.

"[The Chinese vessels] are still there, but there are no more [Chinese] fishermen," the official said.

Stormy weather

The Chinese fishermen must have moved to other fishing grounds because the weather around Panatag Shoal remained stormy, he said.

But the Chinese vessels are also discouraging Filipino fishermen from going into the shoal, the official said.

"We have a report that they were told to leave. But even before, that's what [the Chinese] were doing," the official said.

"[But] it's no longer [safe] to fish there. The weather is stormy so it's no longer practical to go there. Only a few fish there," he added.

The official said the government would file a diplomatic protest if the Chinese detained Filipino fishermen.

AFP, Australian News, Chuson Ilbo & Inquirer

Previous Post
Next Post

0 comments:

Hello traveler! Thank you for leaving comment!. We encourage responsible and peaceful comments that add dimension our discussion. No Profanity , No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

Investment Recommendation: Bitcoin Investments



Where to buy Bitcoins?

For Philippine customers: You could buy Bitcoin Online at Coins.ph
For outside the Philippines customers  may buy Bitcoins online at Coinbase.com