Japan stakes claim to disputed islands and threatens China with force
Japan has staked its claim to the contested Senkaku Islands and will be defending them strongly against China amid escalating tensions in the region, the country's defence minister has warned.
Nobuo Kishi said the territories, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, unquestionably belong to Japan and warned any provocation from Beijing will be fully matched.
His warnings come as a new three-way nuclear submarine pact between the US, UK and Australia aimed at combatting China was unveiled, to the delight of Japan and Taiwan.
Japan fears China's increasingly-assertive navy, which now frequently conducts patrols that skirt its territorial waters including with its new aircraft carriers.
Tokyo has beefed up its military presence around several disputed islands in response, raising fears of an accidental conflict.
It has added state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets and converted warships to aircraft carriers, while building new destroyers, submarines and missiles.
Kishi told CNN: 'Against Chinese action to Senkaku Islands and other parts of the East China Sea... we have to demonstrate that the government of Japan is resolutely defending our territory with the greater number of Japanese coast guard vessels than that of China.
'There is no territorial dispute relating to the Senkaku Islands between Japan and other countries.'
The uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan but claimed by China, have been at the centre of a long-standing dispute that has plagued the relations between Beijing and Tokyo for years.
They are located 1,200 miles southwest of Tokyo but only a third of that distance from Shanghai.
They are considered to have great economic and strategic values because they are close to important shipping lines and offering rich fishing grounds.
China and Japan both claim sovereignty over the islets, which are under Japanese administration, preventing wide-scale exploration and development of oil and natural gas in the East China Sea.
During a row over the territories in 2012, it led to mass protests in China where Japanese cars, shops and restaurants were destroyed and the embassy targeted.
China has been just as ardent in its claims as Japan, saying last year: 'The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are an inherent part of China's territory, and it is our inherent right to carry out patrols and law enforcement activities in these waters.'
Japanese authorities say that this year alone, Chinese Coast Guard vessels have ventured into Japanese waters or 12 nautical miles of Japanese land more than 88 times.
Experts believe China intends to put forces in and around contested areas.
They are also exerting force over Taiwan, which Beijing views as part of China even though it has never been governed by the CCP.
Japan stakes claim to dis... (msn.com)