SIX Chinese patrol ships entered Japanese waters around a disputed island chain yesterday as anti-Japan protests continued in Beijing.
The vessels initially defied requests from the Japanese coastguard that they leave the area and said they were demonstrating China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands.
They withdrew shortly afterwards.
In Beijing, the show of strength was matched by more protests outside the Japanese embassy, where a small group of mostly young men urged China to be more assertive.
The Japanese coastguard identified two of the Chinese vessels as the Haijian 51 and Haijian 66, unarmed ships used for law enforcement in Chinese waters.
It said two Chinese vessels entered waters around Taisho Island and a further four approached Kuba Island.
The Japanese government, which announced this week that it had bought the islands from a Japanese family, convened a crisis meeting.
Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister, said "all possible measures" were being taken to ensure security around the islands.
Cheng Yonghua, the Chinese ambassador to Tokyo, was summoned to the foreign ministry to receive an official protest.
China has submitted mapping co-ordinates for the baselines of the uninhabited islands -- which it calls the Diaoyu Islands -- to the United Nations, in order to bolster its territorial claim.
In Beijing, the State Oceanic Administration said two fleets had patrolled waters around the islands to demonstrate "China's jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands". (© Daily Telegraph, London)