China Deploys Warships After Japan Announces Disputed Island Purchase

China deployed two navy vessels and launched a verbal assault on Japan after Tokyo announced it had ‘bought’ a group of islands disputed by the two countries in the East China Sea.

Osamu Fujimura, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, yesterday confirmed that his country had agreed to purchase the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a Japanese family it claims owns them.

The government will reportedly pay a total of 2.05 billion yen (£16.4 million) for the islands and the transfer of their ownership will be completed by the end of this month.

However as Mr Fujimura spoke, China’s state-controlled news agency Xinhua reported that two Chinese surveillance vessels had arrived in the region to “assert the country’s sovereignty”. Japanese media said the Japanese Coast Guard was monitoring the vessels.

Japan’s move to “nationalise” the disputed islands escalated a simmering and long-standing feud between the two nations over the territory, which is administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

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