China coast guard ships patrol waters in Diaoyu Islands for 1st time in 2022, ‘not out of the ordinary’
Published: Jan 16, 2022 08:16 PM
Diaoyu Islands in the E China Sea Photo: Xinhua

Diaoyu Islands in the E China Sea Photo: Xinhua

Japan must accept the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China and China has the ability to defend them, said Chinese analysts, commenting on Japanese media's mass coverage of 2022's first patrol by China Coast Guard ships in Chinese territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands, noting the regular patrol was "nothing out of the ordinary."

The China Coast Guard (CCG) 1301 fleet patrolled the territorial waters of China's Diaoyu Islands on Saturday, announced CCG's official Sina Weibo account on Saturday morning.

The Japan Times revealed on the same day that four CCG ships sailed in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands for more than an hour, claiming it was the first such "intrusion" by Chinese government ships this year. 

According to the Japan Coast Guard's 11th regional headquarters in Naha, one of the Chinese government ships was equipped with a machine gun-like device, Japan's Kyodo News reported.

Although  the main media outlets in Japan have hyped the first patrol of this year, Da Zhigang, director and research fellow at the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday that the patrol was only a regular and normal one and that nothing was out of the ordinary. 

"While we see it as a normal thing, Japan is getting more and more nervous about the patrols," Da said on the mass coverage by Japanese media outlets.

Japanese media are trying to hype the tension on the Diaoyu Islands issue in an attempt to serve Japanese conservative forces which are trying to use such issues as an excuse for Japan's own military development, Da warned.

"We are conducting more and more patrols in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands, which shows that the capability of CCG is becoming stronger and the ability to defend our territorial sovereignty has improved a lot," another Beijing-based analyst, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Our coast guard capability will soar in the short term and Japan must accept the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China and China has the ability to defend them," the analyst stressed.

China passed its coast guard legislation in January 2021 with Chinese experts saying that regular patrols near the Diaoyu Islands can be guaranteed by the legislation.

China's Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry have repeatedly stated that the Diaoyu Islands are China's inherent territory and Chinese government ships carry out law-enforcement activities within China's territorial waters, which are legitimate and beyond dispute, and would continue to be carried out on a regular basis.  

According to Japanese media, the Chinese government ships sailed near the Diaoyu Islands for 282 days in 2020, matching the annual record set in 2019.