China’s patrols around the disputed Senkaku Islands are thwarted by a typhoon.

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China’s patrols around the disputed Senkaku Islands are thwarted by a typhoon.

Due to an oncoming typhoon, the Chinese coast guard’s daily patrols around the disputed Senkaku Islands have been halted for the first time in more than five months.

The white hulls of Beijing’s maritime police agency were last spotted on Monday, capping a run of 157 days of activity around the uninhabited island chain known to China as Diaoyu and Taiwan as Diaoyutai.

According to Kyodo News on Wednesday, Japan Coast Guard authorities stated the outage was most likely caused by Typhoon In-Fa. In-Fa, which was previously classified as a tropical storm, is predicted to pass across the East China Sea between Wednesday and Thursday.

In-Fa will veer past Taiwan and into coastal China in the next days, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau and estimates from the US military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The storm will pass 100 nautical miles north of Taiwan, near the Senkaku Islands.

China Coast Guard warships were last seen departing the area at 10 p.m. local time on Monday, after sailing in the continuous zone or territorial seas of the Japan-controlled islets every day since February 13, according to the Japan Coast Guard’s 11th regional headquarters in Naha, Okinawa.

The 157-day record was the longest since the Japanese government “nationalized” the islands in 2012, despite Beijing and Taipei’s concerns. Last year, China increased its “gray-zone” operations near the Senkaku islands, setting a new record of 111 consecutive days.

The frequency and duration of China Coast Guard patrols around the islands are rising. Two Chinese government ships stayed in Japanese territorial seas near the islets for a record-breaking 47 hours on July 12.

The coast guard intrusions, which are frequently accompanied by harassment of fishing boats operating around the island chain, have alarmed Japanese officials.

Tokyo is particularly concerned about China’s new coast guard regulation, which allows Chinese government ships to fire on foreign ships perceived to be trespassing in Chinese seas.

Meanwhile, China maintains that its patrols around the islands are “legal and lawful,” and that its new coast guard regulation is “regular domestic legislation.”

Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi dedicated an opening paragraph to China’s in his annual defense white paper, which was released on July 13. This is a condensed version of the information.

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