China ship entry provokes Japan

China ship entry provokes Japan

China ship entry provokes Japan

Updated 10 February 2013, 21:30 AEDT

Chinese ships have been spotted in disputed East China Sea waters, days after Japan accused China of targeting one of its ships.

Four Chinese ships were spotted in disputed East China Sea waters on Sunday, as Japan considered disclosing evidence of a Chinese frigate's alleged radar-lock on a Japanese destroyer.

For the first time after Tokyo made the allegation last week, China sent maritime surveillance vessels near Japanese-controlled islands, known as Senkaku in Tokyo and Diaoyu by Beijing, which also claims them.

They were seen sailing in the contiguous waters near one of the outcrops as of 0000 GMT, Japan's Coast Guard said.

Tokyo accused a Chinese frigate of locking its weapons-tracking radar on a Japanese destroyer - the first time the two nations' navies have locked horns during the territorial dispute.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on Friday demanded Beijing apologise and admit to the incident, which occurred in late January, after Chinese authorities flatly denied Tokyo's accusation.

Japan's Defence Minister, Itsunori Onodera, said on Fuji TV on Sunday that Tokyo was carefully studying whether or how to disclose military data as evidence.

However he also said he did not think China would "admit to it even if Japan discloses a variety of evidence, because it is trying to protect its national interest".

Mr Onodera on Saturday told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper that Tokyo had evidence that showed the Chinese frigate's fire-control radar chasing after the Japanese ship.

The long-running row over the islands intensified in September when Tokyo nationalised part of the chain, triggering fury in Beijing and huge anti-Japan demonstrations across China.

Beijing has repeatedly sent ships and aircraft near the islands and both sides have scrambled fighter jets, though there have been no clashes.

AFP