BEIJING, March 17 ------ China's foreign ministry countered Japan's territorial claims over disputed waters in the East China Sea, calling the move a "grave violation" of Chinese sovereignty. "Chinese coast guard vessels carried out law enforcement on the scene in accordance with the law, it is a legitimate measure to safeguard Chinese sovereignty," spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a regular press briefing.
Wang made the remarks in response to a question on Japan's coast guard saying Chinese coast guard vessels violated Japanese territorial waters around the disputed East China Sea islets. The area is claimed by both China and Japan and has long been a sticking point in bilateral ties. China calls the islands Diaoyu while Japan calls them Senkaku.
China's coast guard said it entered the waters around disputed East China Sea islets to counter what it called the incursion of Japanese vessels into Chinese territorial waters.