TOKYO (AA) – Japan’s defense ministry confirmed Thursday that it will take action to protect its sovereignty after it said that a Chinese frigate had sailed close to its waters in the East China Sea.
According to Kyodo news agency, the frigate entered the zone northeast of Kuba Island, part of the Senkakus, around 0.50 a.m (1650GMT Wednesday).
The ship reportedly left the waters and headed north without intrusion to Japanese territorial waters, the ministry added.
Kyodo quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as saying Thursday morning that the issue raises tensions between the two countries and called it deeply concerning.
"The Senkaku Islands are inherently part of Japanese territory on the basis of history and international law," Suga told a press conference.
"The government will take a resolute stance in fully protecting our territory on land and at sea."
It reported that China's Ambassador to Japan, Chen Yonghua, had been summoned by Japan's Vice Foreign Ministry Akitaka Saiki after Saiki expressed grave concern and lodged a protest over the issue.
The Senkakus are a group of uninhabited islets currently controlled by Japan in the East China Sea.
China is pushing claims in areas of the neighboring South China Sea where other Southeast Asian governments have overlapping claims.
The U.S. has expressed fears that Beijing's buildup of airstrips on artificial islands it has built on once-submerged reefs could impede freedom of navigation in the area.