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Japan and China in Talks as Chinese Ships Circle Disputed Islands

Japanese and Chinese officials are holding meetings together, trying to turn down the noise around disputed islands in the East China Sea, the WSJ reports:

The meeting between the No. 2 foreign ministry officials took place in Shanghai over the weekend, the official said. That followed a meeting between two diplomats one rung down on Oct. 11 in Tokyo.

“Japan and China have been exchanging views over the current situation in regard to the Senkaku Islands on various levels. (The talks) were part of such moves,” Osamu Fujimura, the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, said at a press conference.

At the same time, Chinese ships are circling dangerously close to the disputed Senkaku Islands, the AP reports:

Chinese ships entered waters near a group of disputed islands for the first time in three weeks Thursday, prompting a strong protest from Japan, which says China’s air force has also sharply increased its operations in the area.

Japan’s Coast Guard said the four Chinese surveillance ships were spotted within a 22-kilometer (12-nautical mile) zone that Tokyo considers its territorial waters near one of the disputed islands in the East China Sea early Thursday morning.

The ships refused to leave, saying the area was Chinese territory, according to Atsushi Takahashi, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Okinawa, which has jurisdiction over the islands. He said it was the first time Chinese ships had entered the territorial waters since Oct. 3.

So with one hand Beijing offers to calmly negotiate with its neighbors, and with the other hand it strengthens its navy and circles disputed islands. The Game of Thrones goes on.

For those scoring the game at home, click the map below for detail.

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