Japan updates Philippines on East China Sea row

japan-maritime-self-defense-force.jpgJapan’s Coast Guard said a record 14 Chinese government vessels, some with weapons mounted on them, entered a contiguous zone surrounding Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea at one point on Monday. Kyodo News via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines – Japan has updated the Philippines on developments in the East China Sea, including similarities with the Philippine experience in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, especially the constant harassment by Chinese vessels.

Masato Ohtaka of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said yesterday Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida discussed maritime security and the overall situation in the East China Sea during a meeting with President Duterte on Thursday.

“We discussed maritime security and very natural for the Philippine side to update us on the recent developments, particularly the arbitral award that was given by the tribunal,” Ohtaka told journalists in a briefing.

“We share the same view that things have to be resolved according to international law so the rule of law has to be respected,” he said.

China and Japan have been engaged in a territorial dispute for decades over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

“In relation to this, we updated the Philippine side on what is happening in East China Sea. What we see are very, very similar, probably the same thing, in these two areas,” he said.

Ohtaka said the East China Sea issue is “by no means over” even if the South China Sea issue appears to attract more attention.

“It is not getting better in the East China Sea. The presence of big vessels has been around. It remains constant and systematic as well,” he added.

Japan’s Coast Guard said a record 14 Chinese government vessels, some with weapons mounted on them, entered a contiguous zone surrounding Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea at one point on Monday.

Armed Chinese fishing boats, he said increased in number from three to 15, or five times the number of vessels seen in the area. They were heavily armed and they did not simply pass by.

– With Jaime Laude

Originally posted on The Philippine Star

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