Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Vessel Found to Have Entered Chinese Territorial Waters near Taiwan

From left, The Japanese national flag, The Chinese national flag

A Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel was found to have entered China’s territorial waters earlier this month, government sources said Wednesday.

The Japanese government is investigating the circumstances of the incident as MSDF vessels normally operate in a manner so that they do not enter China’s territorial waters. The waters near where the incident occurred are located in the vicinity of Taiwan and has been designated by China as its training area.

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, vessels, including warships, are given the right of “innocent passage” that allows them to pass through the territorial waters of other states as long as they do not engage in activities that would harm the safety of the coastal states. However, China’s domestics law requires prior permission for foreign warships to enter its territorial waters.