Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in a fresh dispute over East China Sea's remote chain of islands, which believed to have vast reserves of oil and gas resources.
The conflict started when three Chinese patrol boats approached the uninhabited territory, which Beijing claims as part of its "sovereignty" since ancient times. Japan, equally, claims its ownership on the islands, which are known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.
A Japanese coastguard statement accused the Chinese vessels of entering its waters early Wednesday, adding that the Chinese crew refuted their order to leave the waters initially. The Chinese crew, as quoted by Japanese coastguard, reportedly said that they were conducting official duty in Chinese waters and asked them to leave Chinese territorial waters with a warning against interfering in their patrol.
The coastguard, however, said that the vessels immediately left the islands. "It is clear that historically and legally Senkaku is an inherent territory of Japan," a senior Japanese government spokesman Osamu Fujimura told reporters at a press briefing.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said that China would not send its ambassador as summoned by Japan, adding that Beijing does not accept Tokyo's representations over this.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba on the sidelines of ASEAN summit in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and reaffirmed his country's position on the islands.
"He stressed that Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have always been China's territory since ancient times, over which China has indisputable sovereignty," a statement from the Chinese delegation said.
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