With tensions rising in a territorial dispute, Taiwan has sent dozens of boats to the islands in question, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. In the first Taiwanese foray into the area, the boats exchanged fire with Japanese water cannons, the AP reports. Japan, which recently bought the islands from a private owner, says the Taiwanese vessels ignored its instruction to leave, though they ultimately did so, the BBC reports. A Japanese coast guard official says his side only fired at fishing boats. "Shooting water cannon at an official vessel is like waging a war against its country," he says.
The showdown came amid talks between Japan and China over the matter. At the meeting, China told Japan it "will never tolerate Japan's unilateral acts which violate China's territorial sovereignty," a Chinese official says, adding that talks will continue. Meanwhile, China has officially launched its first aircraft carrier, which Beijing says will "effectively protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests." It will largely be used for training and testing purposes, but could further heighten tensions between the countries, Reuters notes.