World Bulletin / News Desk
Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday that Fumio Kishida summoned Cheng Yonghua to the Foreign Ministry, underlining that Beijing's attempt to change the status quo in the area around the Senkaku Islands -- which China calls the Diaoyu Islands -- was totally unacceptable and had badly hurt bilateral ties.
"The Chinese side is attempting to change the status quo in a one-sided manner. I cannot help saying that because of this, the situation surrounding Japanese-Chinese relations has markedly deteriorated," Kishida was quoted as saying.
The protest came after Chinese vessels are reported to have again entered Japanese waters around islets in the East China Sea despite protests from Japan.
Cheng was reported to have responded that it is a "matter of course" that Chinese vessels operate in waters near their country's territory.
"Both sides should make efforts through diplomatic channels so that the situation is kept under control and would not become more complicated," he added
On Tuesday, Japan's coast guard was reported as saying that at one point it had spotted 13 Chinese government vessels in the contiguous zone just beyond Japanese waters around the Senkakus, while on Monday, 15 such vessels were reported to have sailed in the zone.
Two days earlier, around 230 Chinese fishing boats were reported to have been spotted in the zone, along with Chinese government vessels.
The Senkakus are a group of uninhabited islets currently controlled by Japan.
High-level dialogue between China and Japan was suspended for two years prior to a meeting in Nov. 2014 between leaders due to tension following the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the disputed islands in September 2012.