Starting in January, China Coast Guard (CCG) ships began to issue radio warnings to Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft to leave the airspace over the Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea.
Despite Japan claiming ownership in 2012, China still maintains a claim to the islands. China refers to the uninhabited islands as the Diaoyu Islands.
Japan has announced that the warnings are “totally unacceptable.” In November 2023, Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited a CCG base in the East China Sea and urged the agency to “strengthen” to protect the island’s sovereignty, with plans to patrol every day in 2024, in addition to searching for any fishing boats in the area.
In 2023, Japan detected Chinese vessels sailing around the island chain on 352 days.