China and Japan lock horns in territorial dispute over islands

Tokyo: China’s “coercive” behaviour in waters around islands at the centre of a bitter dispute with Japan are dangerous and could trigger an incident, Tokyo said in a new defense paper today.

Hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ministers adopted the annual defense white paper at a cabinet meeting, which warned of the risks as the two Asian rivals lock horns in their territorial dispute.

“China … has taken action described as coercive, which includes risky behaviour,” the 450-page report said. “China’s activities include its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan’s territorial airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency,” it said.

Ships from the two countries have for months traded warnings over intrusions into what both regard as their sovereign areas around the islands, which are strategically sited and rich in resources.

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