China has stepped up patrols in the waters of the disputed islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea, a move that could anger Tokyo. Reports in the state-run media in recent weeks highlighted continued patrols by Chinese Coast Guard vessels which often jostle with their Japanese counterparts as the two countries doggedly try to enforce the claims of their countries over the islands which are under administrative control Tokyo.
State-run Xinhua reported today that three Chinese ships patrolled the “territorial waters”. China conducts such patrols on a regular basis, it said. The islands are called Sankakus by Japan and Diaoyu by China. In recent months, the two countries accused each other of their surveillance aircraft coming close sparking fears of an accident.
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However, observers say China has stepped up patrols after Donald Trump’s election as US President. Trump questioned US stationing troops and aircraft to protect Japan, which remained a close ally of Washington and Tokyo should pay the costs.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rushed to meet Trump after the election becoming the first leader to meet him before he took over office to discuss the US policy on Japan under him. China began its patrols in the disputed waters after Japan asserted its control by nationalising them in 2013 stepping up its claims.