Japanese Real Estate Deal Spurs Maritime Confrontation

Kitakojima Minamikojima Senkaku Islands
Two of the disputed islands – Kita-Kojima (left) and Minami-Kojima (right)

TOKYO–Japan’s coast guard said Friday that two Chinese patrol boats have entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku islands.

The coast guard said one of the boats entered the Japanese waters around the disputed islands at 2118 GMT and the second boat entered the waters at 2120 GMT about 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles) north-northeast of Taisho island.

Senkaku Diaoyu Tiaoyu Islands
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The coast guard said it warned the boats not to enter the territorial waters after the first boat reached a distance of 44 kilometers (24 nautical miles) from the island at 1957 GMT.

The islands are controlled by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, but are claimed by China and Taiwan. They are called Diaoyu in Chinese.

The Japanese government formally decided to buy the islands from private owners earlier this week, provoking an angry response from Chinese PremierĀ Wen Jiabao.

Chinese patrol ships last entered territorial waters near the islands in July.

– Tokyo Bureau, (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company