China Sends Ships to Disputed Islands Japan Claims Vessels mean to 'assert sovereignty' By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Sep 11, 2012 7:46 AM CDT 9 comments Comments In this Sept. 2, 2012 photo, the survey ship Koyo Maru, left, chartered by Tokyo city officials, sails around the tiny islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File) (Newser) – Japan has confirmed a deal to buy disputed islands in the East China Sea—but China has sent a pair of patrol ships to "assert (its own) sovereignty" over the land, in the words of state news. "The Chinese government will not sit idly by watching its territorial sovereignty being infringed upon," the country's foreign ministry said yesterday. Japan holds that its purchase of what it calls Senkaku—in China and Taiwan, the islands are known as Diaoyu—is intended to keep the peace. "This should cause no problem for Japan's ties with other countries and regions," says an official. "We have absolutely no desire for any repercussions as far as Japan-China relations are concerned." But the deal has prompted protests outside Japan's Beijing embassy, and Taiwan has called the decision an "extremely unfriendly move," the BBC reports.