A joint statement issued by the foreign and defense ministers of the United States and Japan said that the authorities of the two countries are “extremely concerned” because of the Chinese coast guard law.
The statement, issued at the conclusion of the meeting of the four ministers on Tuesday in Tokyo, indicated that the law grants the Chinese Coast Guard the right to open fire on foreign ships to protect national sovereignty.
The statement added that the ministers oppose any measures that could undermine the Japanese control of the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu) in the East China Sea.
From time to time, Japan expresses its deep concern, especially in recent times, over the activities of the Chinese Coast Guard in the area of the islands, which are disputed by Tokyo and Beijing.
In February, Chinese military ships entered the area around these islands, which Japan considers one of its territorial waters, 14 times.
Tokyo is linked to this increased Chinese activity, after factors, the most important of which is the entry into force on February 1 of the Chinese law that gives the coast guard the authority to open fire on foreign ships to protect national sovereignty. This prompted Japan to grant the Coast Guard the right to use weapons in the event of an attempt to land on the Senkaku, which increases the risk of an armed conflict.