Aug. 7, 2016 7:53 a.m. ET
TOKYO—Japan said Sunday it has issued multiple protests to China over actions in the East China Sea, including what Tokyo described as the installation of radar on a Chinese offshore gas platform.
The Japanese foreign ministry also said that on Sunday, two Chinese coast-guard ships entered the territorial waters of islets in the East China Sea that are held by Japan and claimed by China, following incursions Saturday into a contiguous zone surrounding the territorial waters.
The actions raised tensions in a long-running dispute between Tokyo and Beijing over the islets, known as the Senkakus in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Beijing is already at odds with the international community over a separate territorial dispute in the South China Sea after an international tribunal ruled in July that China’s claims there had no legal basis.
In international waters of the East China Sea, China has 16 gas drilling platforms, and on one of them an ocean-radar facility and surveillance cameras were discovered in June, Japan’s foreign ministry said.
A foreign-ministry spokesman said Japan “cannot accept” the radar. “We call for the immediate removal of the equipment,” he said.
China’s foreign and defense ministries did not respond to requests for comment about the radar.
Tokyo also lodged a protest Friday to China’s foreign ministry, via the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, the spokesman said. Tokyo has previously protested against what it calls China’s unilateral development of resources in the area.
The installation of radar on a gas platform, if confirmed, would recall China’s actions in the South China Sea, where it has added military facilities on artificial islands. In 2013, China established an air-defense zone in the East China Sea, raising tensions with the U.S. and Japan.
The recent incursions by Chinese ships around the disputed islets led Japan’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, Shinsuke Sugiyama, to issue a protest Sunday. “This series of actions by the Chinese side is a one-sided escalation that significantly raises tensions at the scene, and we absolutely cannot accept it,” Mr. Sugiyama told China’s ambassador in Tokyo, according to a Japanese foreign ministry statement.
China has said that the islets are part of its territory and that its actions follow international law.
In response to Japan’s protest about the Chinese vessels, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Saturday repeated Beijing’s position.
“We strongly hope that the Japanese side will honor its principled agreement with us, [and] deal with the current situation with a cool head instead of taking actions that may raise tension or make things complicated,” she said in a statement on the foreign-ministry website.
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Japan objects as roughly 230 Chinese fishing vessels and six Chinese coast guard ships work near disputed East China Sea islands — “This is like a gang rape of illegal fishing. China is saying damn the law we take whatever we want.”
A Pacific Admiral Takes China’s Measure (U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris)
In June Japan accused China of sending a spy ship into its territorial waters as Tokyo conducted a joint exercise with the United States and India.
And last month the two countries were at loggerheads over accusations Japanese warplanes locked their fire control radar onto Chinese aircraft.
China Coast Guard — In this photo released by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of Japan, a Chinese coastguard vessel sails near the disputed islands in the East China Sea on August 6, 2016. AP