Japan warned three Chinese coast guard ships on Wednesday to steer clear of its territorial waters near disputed islets in the East China Sea.
The three ships, one of them apparently equipped with guns, approached the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands at around 10:10a.m. (0110 GMT), Japan’s Coast Guard said.
The ships passed within the boundary of Japan’s territorial waters, it said, which lies 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) off a nation’s coast, according to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China and Taiwan also claim the uninhabited islets, calling them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.
The Coast Guard said it had boosted security around the disputed islets, where sightings of Chinese ships had increased recently.
China had deployed 10 new 1,500-ton vessels and two helicopters carriers at its branch in Naha city on the island of Okinawa.
Last week, Japan also stationed a unit of 160 ground troops on Yanaguni Island, 150 kilometres south of Senkaku, to monitor vessels and aircraft in the area.
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