China, Japan Confrontation on Diaoyu Islands Renews

December 2, 2010 Updated: August 19, 2012

The Japanese Coast Guard reported that its aircraft sighted an ‘advanced’ Chinese fishing boat 23 miles northwest of the Senkaku Islands (Chinese name: Diaoyu Islands) on the morning of Nov. 20. Twenty minutes later, another fishing boat was sighted in the same area.

The Japanese Coast Guard immediately dispatched patrol boats including a large patrol ship and issued warnings to the Chinese fishing boats, requesting they do not enter “Japanese waters.” The Chinese fishing boats responded, “We are currently executing normal surveillance missions in our own waters.”

According to the Japanese Coast Guard this was a long-lasting confrontation. At around 9:50 a.m. the two Chinese fishing boats changed course and gradually left. They did not enter “Japanese waters.”

The highly publicized “China Fishery 310” was commissioned on Nov. 16 in Guangdong. Her appearance near the Diaoyu Islands drew special attention. This ship is the newest, most advanced, fastest, and best-equipped fishing boat in China. Her deck has space to land two Z-9A helicopters.

Since the ship collision incident on Sept. 7, Chinese fishing boats have entered the Diaoyu Islands region at least four times and provoked a confrontation with the Japanese each time. The Sept. 7 video incident of the ship's collision incident was leaked. It is the also the first incident after leaders from both sides agreed at the APEC Summit to improve the Sino-Japanese relationship.

According to Kyodo News, based on information from officials in Japan's Ministry of Defense (JSDF), JSDF is looking to increase the number of aircrafts at the Naha base for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force in the next ten years. To enhance the surveillance on islands southwest of China, the number of planes at Naha might increase from 20 to 30, and the number of flight squadrons from one to two.

Taiwanese military expert Shi Xiaowei thinks the sharp confrontation between China and Japan recently make it unlikely for Japan to establish a military presence at the Diaoyu Islands in the near future.

At the same time, Japan Economy News reported on Nov. 21 that Japan plans to send 100 Japan Self-Defense Forces solders to Yonaguni in the Okinawa region as early as 2014. They will use radar and other communication methods to monitor the movement of Chinese ships and aircraft in the region.

Yonaguni is Japan’s most southwestern island that is still habitable. Taiwan’s Defense International magazine official Shi Xiaowei, when interviewed, commented that Yonaguni is very close to Taiwan. Yonaguni is only about 62 miles from eastern Taiwan, and around 124 miles from the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

The maritime spats are also having local repercussions. A recent Epoch Times report from Japan indicated that the Chinese consulate in Niigata City, approximately 186 miles from Tokyo and one of the six Chinese consulates in Japan, wanted to expand during the middle of this year. The Chinese regime proposed purchasing a 37 acre parcel of land, resulted in strong protest by the locals. The city froze the purchase plan on Nov. 18; the reason: “Deterioration of relationship with the general public.”