Taiwan may be showing signs of assertiveness as vessels from the nation are frequenting waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea, reports the Asahi Shimbun.

Earlier this month a Taiwanese patrol vessel brushed a Japan Coast Guard cutter off the Senkaku Islands, after Taiwanese fishing boats were seen in the area, purportedly to lay sovereignty rights. Several Taiwanese vessels were also found patrolling the waters to monitor Taiwanese fishermen, actions which Japan saw as provocative.

China and Japan are the primary claimants of the Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu in Chinese. Tensions in the East China Sea escalated when Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara announced his plan to purchase three of the islands. Taiwan have previously prevented activists from entering the waters near the islands, upholding its relations with Japan.