All Saturday morning papers carried follow-up stories on a Chinese warship’s passage through the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands early Thursday morning, with Mainichi highlighting the GOJ view that China sent the ship to the area adjacent to Japan’s territorial waters to “monitor” a Russian fleet that was travelling through the same area a few hours earlier on its way home from Southeast Asia. The GOJ has reportedly concluded that this surveillance mission by the PLA warship was an attempt by China to establish a fait accompli with the goal of reinforcing its territorial claim to Senkakus. Although Mainichi said the Chinese warship apparently had no intention to enter Japan’s territorial waters, Nikkei claimed otherwise by saying that the vessel was at one point heading toward Japanese territorial waters at a substantial speed despite an MSDF destroyer’s repeated warnings.
In a related development, Asahi wrote that three China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels intruded into Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkakus on Wednesday, noting that one of them was a former PLA Navy warship that was later modified for patrol operations. The article added that the CCG regularly deploys another similarly modified vessel in the vicinity of the Senkakus.