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Chinese coast guard vessels sail near Japan's disputed Senkaku islands

Japan's coast guard said it was the second time since Thursday that four Chinese ships had entered its waters

AFP PTI  |  Beijing 

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Chinese sailed near disputed islands claimed by and in the East Sea today, marking the second such incident in less than a week.

The four ships entered the waters surrounding the island chain, controlled by and known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in China, at around 10:00 am (0100 GMT) and were moving in a southwest direction, according to the Japanese coast guard.

An online statement from China's State Oceanic Administration only said the four Chinese were "patrolling in Chinese waters off the "

Japan's coast guard said it was the second time since Thursday that four had entered its waters.

has routinely complained that is escalating regional tensions by regularly sending ships to the island chain despite repeated protests from

The two countries have been locked in a long-running dispute over the islands, which are believed to harbour vast natural resources below their seabed, with China claiming them as its own.

is also involved in maritime disputes in the It asserts sovereignty over most of the area despite rival partial claims by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

A UN-backed tribunal last July ruled that Beijing's claims were invalid. The regularly conducts "freedom of navigation" operations in the to challenge China's claims, angering

First Published: Mon, September 25 2017. 16:23 IST