Four Chinese coastguard vessels have sailed into waters around a chain of disputed islands in the East China Sea, Japanese Coast Guard says.
According to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the four vessels entered the waters around 9:20 a.m. local time and stayed there for about two hours.
The vessels have been spotted inside the territorial zone on 50 days so far this year, the coastguard said.
Japan has long been engaged in a dispute with China over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkakus in Japanese and as the Diaoyus in Chinese.
In September, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing is ready to hold talks with Japan over the maritime row. Wang also blamed Japan for the rising tensions between the two countries.
On September 11, 2012, the Japanese government signed a deal to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago.
The move sparked a new wave of dispute and protests across China.
Since then, Chinese ships have been sailing in and out of the waters around the islands, which Japan claims are situated in its territorial waters.
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