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Mr. Shintaro’s stunt prompted a fierce reaction in China where mobs attacked Japanese diplomatic facilities and businesses. China responded by deploying coast guard and non-military patrol ships to the islands to accompany its fishing vessels, which troll the islands’ waters under a deal with Tokyo.

Since then, the islands have been the site for several high-profile confrontations between Chinese and Japanese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels.

In September, Tsai Eng-meng, a pro-China media mogul in Taiwan, underwrote sending a flotilla of 50 Taiwanese fishing vessels to the islands. The demonstration was designed to underline their rights to fish the islands’ waters, the fishermen said.

Mr. Tsai soon followed up with a call in his pro-Communist Party newspaper, the China Times, for China and Taiwan to cooperate to pursue a joint claim to the islands.

“Some countries are concerned about cooperation between Taiwan and Mainland China in dealing with sovereignty and maritime issues,” Mr. Song acknowledged.

But, he added, cooperation is necessary in areas such as “law enforcement at the lower levels.”

Such cooperation should include “a trilateral mechanism among [fisheries and law enforcement agencies of] China, Taiwan and Japan to avoid escalation of conflicts in disputed waters,” he said.