Senkaku Islands: Taiwanese Ships Enter ‘Disputed Waters’
As China leaves the islands, Taiwan has now entered the already controversial islands off the coast of Japan. On Tuesday, about 50 Taiwanese ships arrived at the Senkaku Islands just as Chinese vessels left. The Taiwanese ships- 10 coast guard ships and 40 fishing boats- initially entered the disputed waters to protest the Japanese government after recently buying the islands from a private owner. The situation became hostile when both Japanese and Taiwanese ships shot water cannons at each other. Coast guard officials stated the Taiwanese vessels pulled back after being fired upon repeatedly.
China, Japan, and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China. It was Taiwan’s first attempt into the waters around the islands since recently being purchased by the Japanese government two weeks ago. The purchase has caused much tension amongst the countries and has sparked violent protests in China and boycotts of Japanese products and services.
Both Japan and China have posted monitoring ships to patrol the islands. They have yet to come to a resolution
Japanese coast guard representatives stated that after the Taiwanese fishing boats and government patrol boats infringed Japanese territorial waters and ignored warnings, they fired water cannons. After the Taiwanese vessels shot back, they eventually left Japanese waters.
A Japanese coast guard official considered the event to be almost war like. Japanese patrol boats evidently only fired at the fishing boats.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Osamu Fujimura, is determined to protect their area and hopes to resolve the issue in a friendly manner.
Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, supports the “protecting Diaoyutai campaign” which was launched by local fishermen. President Ma Ying-jeou praised the Taiwanese coast guards for their role in chaperoning the Taiwanese boats to the islands, said the president’s spokesman, Fan Chiang Tai-chi.
China withdrew their vessels to the islands yesterday, but about 10 still linger just outside Japan’s waters off the islands. Japanese coast guard officials stated that their fleet size has reduced over the last few days.