Four ships of the China Maritime Administration on Friday, Jan. 13, regularly patrolled the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the subject of a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.
The Maritime Guard Office came into being during the reorganization of the State Oceanographic Administration of the People’s Republic of China. It is responsible for the maritime surveillance service, the coast guard force of the Ministry of Public Security, the fish protection service of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the anti-smuggling unit of the General Administration of Customs of China.
The situation around the disputed islands has been tense since the middle of last year. It escalated in September when the Japanese government “nationalized” them. Earlier on June 22, the Ishigaki City Assembly of Japan decided to add the name “Senkaku” to the name of the administrative area covering a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Beijing, which disputes the territories and calls them Diaoyu in its own way, perceived the renaming decision as an attempt by Tokyo to cement its rights to the islands.
Shortly before the Ishigaki vote, China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement recalling that the Diaoyu Islands are “inalienable territory of China” and urged the neighbor to adhere to the “spirit of consensus of the four principles” on which Beijing and Tokyo agreed in 2014. One of them read: Japan, which has controlled the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands since 1972, recognizes that sovereignty over the islands is disputed.