Japanese Coast Guard said on Tuesday that it spotted for the first time an armed Chinese Coastguard ship near the disputed Senkaku islands.

Chinese vessels regularly patrols around the uninhabited islands, but according to a Japanese Coast Guard spokesman, it was the first time that an armed Chinese Coast Guard ship had been sighted near the disputed islands.

“We don’t know China’s intentions, but our response will remain unchanged, and we’ll act calmly and decisively for Japan’s safety,” said Yosuke Watanuki, a spokesman for the regional unit covering Japan’s remote southern islands.

In this photo provided by Japan Coast Guard, an armed Chinese coast guard ship sails in the water near islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. It spotted for the first time Tuesday an armed Chinese coast guard vessel near islands at the center of a long-running territorial dispute between the two Asian giants. (Japan Coast Guard via AP)
In this photo provided by Japan Coast Guard, an armed Chinese coast guard ship sails in the water near islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. (Japan Coast Guard via AP)

Japanese coast guard released a photo of the Chinese ship sailing in the East China Sea. It is one of the four coast guard ships that was seen patrolling those waters, but was the only one that was armed.

However, the armed ship didn’t come close enough to violate Japan’s territorial waters.

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