Tokyo, Aug 9 (IANS) Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday summoned Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to protest the continued incursions by Beijing in its territorial waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku islands.
In what is the first direct protest against Beijing by a Japanese cabinet member, the minister asked the Chinese ambassador to explain the continued intrusions and expressed concern over the movement of Chinese fleet in its waters, Efe news reported.
Kishida told the media here that he urged China to move its ships from waters near the Senkaku islands and said that bilateral relations have deteriorated deeply due to Chinese actions.
Kishida added despite several protests, the situation remains unchanged and Japan cannot accept China’s unilateral actions as they are aggravating regional tension, reported public broadcaster NHK.
Kishida lodged the protest after a Chinese patrol boat and six fishing vessels intruded into waters close to Senkaku islands.
A fleet of 15 Chinese ships, the largest marine contingent from China detected near Senkaku, was also spotted by the Japanese Coast Guard near the disputed area.
The Chinese ambassador justified the presence of its ships in the area on grounds that the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyu in Chinese), administered by Tokyo, are part of its territory, reported the Kyodo news agency.
Located in the East China Sea, about 150 km northeast of Taiwan, the uninhabited Senkaku islands have a total surface area of about 7 sq.km and are reportedly rich in marine and energy resources.