International Desk: Japan’s foreign minister has warned that ties with China are “significantly deteriorating”, after Chinese vessels repeatedly entered disputed waters in the East China Sea.
Fumio Kishida said he had called China’s ambassador to protest against the “incursions”.
On Friday, about 230 Chinese fishing boats and coast guard vessels sailed near islands claimed by both countries, reports the BBC.
Beijing has been increasingly assertive about waters it believes are Chinese.
The Japan-controlled, uninhabited islands – known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China – are the source of a long-running dispute.
The Japanese coast guard said on Monday (August 8) that about 13 Chinese coast guard ships, some of them armed, had been seen near the islands, higher than the usual number.
“The situation surrounding the Japan-China relationship is significantly deteriorating,” Kishida told Cheng Yonghua, Beijing’s envoy to Tokyo, according to a statement on the foreign ministry website.
Kishida said he had lodged repeated protests since Friday about the “incursion and violation of our sovereignty”. He said China should withdraw its official vessels immediately.
Cheng reiterated China’s claim over the area at the meeting, he told reporters, and asked for both countries to continue to have dialogue.