Taiwan, Japan coast guards spar in waters near Diaoyutais

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) Coast guard vessels from Taiwan and Japan sparred in waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands Monday over their countries’ conflicting claims to the uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea.

The argument via wireless communications came roughly a week after the two sides engaged in a water cannon altercation in the region on Sept. 25.

The spat took place at around 8 a.m. when Taiwan’s Lienchiang coast guard patrol ship was protecting two Taiwanese fishing boats operating in waters some 20 nautical miles off the Diaoyutais, according to Wang Chung-yi, deputy head of the Coast Guard Administration.

Japan’s coast guard started the exchange by instructing the Taiwanese ships to leave the area, claiming they had entered Japan’s territorial waters, Wang said during a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

In response, Wang said, crew members aboard the 500-ton Lienjiang vessel told their Japanese counterparts through wireless communications that the area is Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone and that they were there to protect Taiwanese fishermen.

According to Wang, Taiwanese and Japanese coast guard vessels had stayed in the area to monitor the situation until at least noon, but neither side had taken any confrontational actions other than reiterating sovereignty claims.

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Article courtesy of Global Security Org.

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