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China continues intrusions into Japanese waters near Senkakus

All papers ran extensive reports on Japan’s protest against Chinese government ships’ recent intrusions into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands. Asahi wrote that despite Foreign Minister Kishida’s protest filed with Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng on Aug. 9, Chinese vessels entered the area again. The foreign minister expressed the view during his meeting with the Chinese envoy that relations between Japan and Chinese have deteriorated due to Beijing’s recent provocative actions, including sailing ships in waters near the Senkakus and the installation of radar on a gas drilling rig in the East China Sea. After his meeting with Kishida, Cheng told reporters in Japanese that both sides should make efforts to prevent the current situation from becoming more complicated. However, the envoy added in Chinese that Japan should not raise objections or make complaints.


Mainichi wrote that Tokyo has lodged protests with Beijing over its maritime intrusions on five consecutive days. The paper speculated that the Xi administration’s attempt to tighten its grip on power at home by expressing its firm position on international affairs is behind China’s recent provocative actions in the East China Sea. The paper also conjectured that Beijing is trying to send a warning to Tokyo over its criticism of China for its rejection of the international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. The paper also wrote that Beijing is probably applying pressure on Tokyo to demonstrate to the U.S. its position of not compromising on its territorial claims and maritime interests.


Yomiuri wrote that the GOJ plans to apply pressure on Beijing by disseminating information to the international community about China’s overbearing acts in the East China Sea. The paper added, however, that Tokyo is hoping to prevent the current tension from escalating further and plans to hold patient talks with the Chinese through international events such as a Japan-China-ROK foreign ministerial in August and an Abe-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in September. The paper speculated that Beijing will keep its ships in the area near the Senkakus until Aug. 15 to send a warning to the Abe administration on the possibility of cabinet ministers visiting Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan’s WWII surrender.


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