As reported here on RocketNews24, on Tuesday last week, a flotilla of Taiwanese fishing boats was rumoured to have set off for the now infamous Senkaku archipelago, situated close to the Japanese island of Okinawa, with a view to asserting rightful ownership.
This report came just hours after stories of a similar fleet heading to the disputed islands from mainland China, which turned out to be false.
The initial rumour of the Taiwanese boats, however, proved to be true…
At around 6 a.m. today, the 50-strong Taiwanese fishing boat flotilla was confirmed to have entered Japanese waters, with up to eight official Taiwanese patrol boats also reported to be present among the group.
As well as clearly flying Taiwanese national colours, many of the boats are reported to be displaying banners reading “We swear to defend the Tiaoyutai Islands (the Taiwanese name for the Senkaku islands)!” removing any doubt that the boats are there with any other motive.
Once news of the boats’ arrival reached Okinawan Peace Perseveration headquarters, Japanese patrol boats moved to intercept them.
Despite the Japanese coastguard ordering them to vacate the area, and informing them that they were encroaching Japanese territory, the Taiwanese patrol boats responded bluntly, stating: “These are Taiwanese waters; we are here perfectly legitimately.”
There have been no reports of violence or that either side has used force at this time.
We’ll have more news on this awkward stand-off as it comes.