TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Kuomintang (KMT) on Wednesday (Feb. 17) called on China and Japan to apply self-restraint in the wake of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel apparently armed with an "autocannon" entering the waters of the Diaoyutai Islands in recent days.
Insisting that the Diaoyutai Islands are part of Taiwan’s territory, the KMT in a press release also called on Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to defend the nation's sovereignty and fishing rights.
Citing the Japanese coast guard, NHK reported that two Chinese government vessels had entered the waters around the Diaoyutai Islands at noon on Monday (Feb. 15). On Tuesday morning (Feb. 16), two other such vessels reportedly came close to Taisho Island, a part of the disputed island chain.
As Japanese coast guard officials said that one of the Chinese vessels was armed with what appeared to be an "autocannon," the Japanese government heightened its alert by dispatching patrol ships to protect Japanese fishing boats and calling on the Chinese vessels to leave the waters immediately.
On Feb. 1, China enacted a law that authorizes its coast guard to use weapons against foreign vessels that enter what it claims to be its territorial waters, causing countries in the region, including Japan and the Philippines, to be on the alert. The recent Diaoyutai Islands incident marks the first time an armed Chinese government vessel has entered the disputed waters since the law was passed.