China Sends Patrol Ships to Disputed East China Sea Islands
Two Chinese patrol ships have been sent to islands disputed with Japan, which has sealed a deal to purchase the territory.
Japan confirmed on Tuesday September 11th that it had signed a contract to buy three of the islands from their private owner.
China and Japan have been locked in a diplomatic spat over the islands.
Japan controls the resource-rich islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan.
Some had been in the hands of a private Japanese owner but the government says it has now signed a purchase contract.
The move followed a bid by the outspoken Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara to buy them using public donations – an action analysts believe would have further raised tensions with China.
China has nonetheless called Japan’s move illegal and warned it would affect ties.
The islands, which lie south of Okinawa and north of Taiwan, sit in key shipping lanes and are thought to lie close to gas deposits.