TOKYO, 6th April, 2016 (WAM) — The Japan Coast Guard has deployed 12 ships assigned exclusively to patrolling areas around the Senkaku Islands amid China’s growing assertiveness in the East China Sea.

The 10 new 1,500-ton patrol ships and two helicopter-equipped patrol vessels will become fully operational this month as part of efforts to strengthen protection of waters off the uninhabited islets that are claimed by both China and Taiwan.

WAM/Ahlam/AAMIR