TOKYO - Chinese coast guard vessels were not spotted Monday near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, ending a streak of appearances running 111 consecutive days since mid-April, Japan Coast Guard officials said.
Four Chinese ships left the area just beyond the Japanese waters around the islets on Sunday morning and later moved further away, apparently due to an approaching typhoon, the officials said.
China has ratcheted up pressure on Japan by constantly sending its vessels into or near the Japanese territorial waters to challenge the status quo. The uninhabited islets in the resource-rich sea are claimed by China and Taiwan, which call them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.
China sent its ships near the Senkaku Islands from April 14 to Sunday, the longest streak since Tokyo put them under state control in 2012.
The dispute over the islets has been a sticking point for the two countries.