China and Taiwan take on Japanese ownership of disputed islands
- SHOCK - The islands that no one cared about five years ago may have huge fields of natural gas. Who would have thought it?
China has dispatched two marine surveillance ships to the East China Sea around the Diaoyu islands - known in Japan as the Senkaku islands - to "assert the country's sovereignty".
The move came just hours after Japan brushed off stern warnings by China on Tuesday, and bought the group of islands that both sides claim. The growing dispute threatens to deepen tensions between Asia's two biggest economies.
The islands lie around 200km from Taiwan and 2,000km from Tokyo in a strategically important shipping area near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge maritime gas fields reports Al Jazeera News.
Japan 'to buy' disputed archipelago
Taiwan has recalled its envoy from Japan in reaction to the mounting territorial row over the uninhabited islands.
Japan insists that it has only peaceful intentions behind the 2.05bn yen ($26.18m) purchase of the three islands in the East China Sea, until now leased by the government from a Japanese family that had owned them since early 1970s.
Osamu Fujimura, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said: "If they are indeed entering the waters around the Senkaku Islands, then we will demand they not cross over in to our territorial waters."
|The Chinese patrol ship Haijian 46, one of the two ships which is reportedly sailing near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. (REUTERS)|