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China deploys 4 surveillance ships near disputed islands

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BEIJING (PTI): China has announced the deployment of four surveillance ships in the waters around the disputed islands in the East China Sea to keep vigil on Japanese right-wing activists illegally entering the area.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said four Chinese marine surveillance ships patrolled the waters off the Diaoyu Islands called Senkakus by Japan after the Japanese right-winger's intrusion.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes the Japanese right-wingers' illegal entrance into the waters off the Diaoyu Islands and is keeping high vigilance to their intention and purpose," Hong said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The provocation of this kind will make the situation more complicated if not stopped," he said.

The ships are carrying out "normal rights-safeguarding activities around the Diaoyu Islands", the China State Oceanic Administration said.

However, reports from Japan said the four ships left the waters of the uninhabited islands after four-hour sailing.

Though the Japanese Coast Guard ships deployed around the islands also patrolled the islands around the same time, there was no incident of clash between the two sides, officials here said.

Chinese ships started entering the waters after Japan bought the islands from a private Japanese owner to which Beijing took strong exception, saying that Tokyo cannot buy what did not belong to it.

This is the first time China is sending surveillance ships to the islands after a period of calm between the two countries over the disputed islands.

Earlier, Japanese firms in China including top automobile firms like Toyota and Nissan shut down their plants for a while after anti-Japanese protests.

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