1,000 Chinese Fishing Boats Sail Toward Disputed Island Chain
Around a thousand Chinese fishing boats have set off to fish near the disputed Diaoyu Islands, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan, in what appears to be a strong response from Beijing to Japan's nationalization of three of the islands last week.
The state-run China National Radio said the Chinese vessels were expected to arrive on Monday night, and may also be joined by six maritime patrol ships, which briefly entered Japanese waters last Friday.
China claims the area is a traditional fishing zone.
[Interview : Wu Shaodong, Manager
Zhejiang Provincial Dept. of Ocean and Fisheries] "The waters around the Diaoyu are a traditional fishing zone. We have been fishing here for a long time."
Japan's Kyodo News Agency has reported that the fishing boats could clash with patrol ships from the Japanese Coast Guard, further escalating tensions between the two countries.
The territorial dispute over the islands, which has been rumbling for decades, intensified last week after Japan announced it had bought three of the islands from a private owner.
That enraged China, which also claims sovereignty over the island chain.
Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Chinese protested in more than 50 cities, attacking Japanese diplomatic missions and well-known Japanese businesses such as Toyota and Honda.
In response, Honda said it would suspend production in China starting on Tuesday for two days, while Fast Retailing Corporation, the owner of casualwear brand Uniqlo, said it has closed some of its stores in China and may close more in the future.
Protests against Japan in China are expected to reach their peak on Tuesday when the country marks the 81st anniversary of the Mukden Incident.
On September 18th, 1931, the Japanese Army blew up a Japanese railway in southern Manchuria to serve as a pretext for invading northeastern China.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
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