Fox News on September 30, 2013, published an AFP report on Chinese ships sailing into Tokyo-controlled waters as Beijing celebrated its National Day and as Japan and the United States prepare for talks on their defence pact. Excerpts below:

Four vessels from the Chinese coastguard entered the territorial waters of the Senkaku islands at around 9:00 am (0000 GMT), the Japanese coastguard said. China calls the islands the Diaoyus and says they belong to Beijing.

It came as US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kelly prepare to head to Tokyo for a meeting with Japanese counterparts Itsunori Onodera and Fumio Kishida.

Japan’s…Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Tokyo to play a more self-confident role on the world stage and for its military to shoulder more of the burden of the defence pact with Washington.

The latest incident also comes on the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, a day marked by a public holiday throughout the country.

In recent months there have been fewer incidents than in the opening stages of the row over the islands, which erupted violently in September last year.

Observers say Beijing wants to create a “new normal” by demonstrating that Japan no longer has effective control over the islands.

Tokyo is not prepared even to acknowledge formally the existence of any dispute.

Asia-watchers say the tense stand-off could erupt into a limited armed conflict, with some warning that it may even draw the United States in.


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