Two ships from the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) – a paramilitary maritime law enforcement agency – were dispatched to the tiny archipelago in the South China Sea “to assert the country’s sovereignty,” the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday. Xinhua said the vessels had reached the waters around the Diaoyu Islands — known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands —and would take the necessary measures to deal with “the development of the situation.” Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Geng Yansheng vowed the “government and armed forces stand firm and are unshakeable in their determination and will safeguard sovereignty over the nation’s territories.” “We are watching the evolution of the situation closely and reserve the right to take reciprocal measures,” he continued. However, Japan’s coast guard said no special measures have been taken as a result of the Chinese patrol boats’ deployment to the islands, though Tokyo monitoring any possible new developments. Japanese officials say it’s unlikely that the Chinese vessels would come within 12 nautical miles of the islands – which would constitute an encroachment on Japanese territorial waters. Beijing summoned Japan’s ambassador to China late on Monday to protest Japan’s move to buy three of the five islands, which will become the responsibility of the Japanese coast guard if the plan goes through. The People’s Liberation Army Daily also said in a commentary on Tuesday that Japan was playing with fire, calling the purchase the “most blatant challenge to China’s sovereignty since the end of World War II.” And as the rhetoric heats up, China has started broadcasting a daily weather report for the islands for the first time. Small demonstrations outside of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing followed the news, with a dozen or so demonstrators chanting “Japan, get out of China.” Similar protests were reported in two other cities in eastern and southern China. Taiwan, who has also laid claim to the islands, which are on a route to rich fishing grounds and potentially large maritime gas fields, recalled its envoy to Japan on Tuesday in response to Tokyo’s plan to nationalize them. Taiwan’s envoy was instructed to lodge a formal complaint with Tokyo, and is expected to return to Taipei on Wednesday. (RT News).]]>

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