Mon, 01 Mar 2021

Taipei [Taiwan], Feburary 19 (ANI): Taiwan has expressed concerns about the Chinese aggression and destabilising actions near the Diaoyutai islands, after Chinese coast guard ships sailed near the disputed islands.

Situated in East China's Sea, the uninhabited islands also known as Senkakus in Japan -- are claimed by Taipei, Beijing and Tokyo, Taipei Times reported.

On Monday and Tuesday, four Chinese guard ships sailed near the Diaoyutai Islands, one of which was equipped with a cannon.

Two of the ships sailed away on Tuesday morning, including an armed vessel, while the others attempted to approach a Japanese fishing boat, the Japan Coast Guard said.

It was the first armed incursion since China's enactment on February 1 of a new Coast Guard Law, which authorizes its coast guard to inspect and use weapons on foreign vessels in waters claimed by Beijing.

Asked about China's actions, Taiwan Foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told a regular news conference in Taipei that the government is paying close attention to developments in the East China Sea.

The presence of an armed Chinese vessel near the Diaoyutai Island has a destabilising effect, she said, adding that Chinese harassment is not just limited to the sea.

Reaffirming the nation's claim over the Diaoyutais, Ou said the government would "resolutely defend the nation's sovereignty.""The Diaoyutai Islands are unquestionably Taiwanese territory," she said. "No one-sided claims or actions by any party can change this fact."Earlier this month, during a video meeting, Tokyo had conveyed its 'strong concerns' to China over the new law authorising military force in the waters. China must not use the legislation, in a way that goes against international law, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.

However, China continues to claim that the Senkaku Islands are the country's 'inherent territory'.

In the early 2010s, China and Japan were mired in a territorial row over the Senkakus. Beijing has rapidly built up artificial islands with military infrastructure in the region, in its claim of sovereignty over almost the entire maritime region.

Moreover, China has conflicting territorial claims with four of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam -- as well as Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, US warships carried out a freedom of navigation operations in an apparent bid to challenge Chinese claims and actions in the area. (ANI)

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