Chinese, Japanese Ships Square Off Near Islands

Standoff ends after Japan summons Chinese ambassador in protest
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2012 8:15 AM CDT
China's surveillance ship Haijian 15 arrives at waters around disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, Sept. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Jiansong)
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(Newser) – Six Chinese surveillance ships cruised into Japanese waters today—or at least, what Japan believes are Japanese waters—prompting a tense exchange with the Japanese patrol ships there, which radioed the Chinese to demand they leave. The Chinese ships refused. The standoff ended around mid-afternoon, the Washington Post reports, after Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda assembled a crisis task force.

It's the biggest escalation yet in the feud over a pair of rocky, uninhabited islands Japan recently purchased, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China's state-run news service said the move "shows China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty," adding that "it is well-known that the Diaoyu Islands … have been Chinese territory since ancient times." Analysts are worried. "It's not impossible for the situation to get out of hand," one expert says.

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