China rules out 'time limit' for patrolling contested Japan-administered Senkaku islands
The head of China's Oceanic Administration has said there is 'no time limit' Chinese patrol vessels sailing near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands will continue, a Hong Kong newspaper has reported.
The Ming Pao daily, in a report from Beijing, quoted Oceanic Administration Secretary Liu Cigui as saying that it is 'important' for China to 'safeguard' China's claim to the islands.
According to the newspaper, he also called Hong Kong activists who have landed on the disputed islands in the past 'patriots'.
Earlier, the Japan Coast Guard said that Chinese surveillance vessels sailed on Sunday in an area just outside Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, a major source of recent friction between the two countries, the Japan Times reports.
Since Wednesday, four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have been in the contiguous zone near the group of islands in the East China Sea, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the report said.
The coast guard said that it warned the Chinese vessels over the radio not to enter Japanese territorial waters, but one of the vessels responded that it was on a regular patrol of areas administrated by China, it added.