Chinese and Japanese coast guard ships in stand-off around disputed islands

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island , Minamikojima and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) -Chinese and Japanese coast guard vessels engaged in a stand off in around a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, according to statements from both countries.

The islands, referred to as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China, are claimed by both countries. Coast guard vessels from both nations frequently patrol the contested waters.

Beijing on Monday said it took "necessary control measures" and "drove away" four Japanese fishing vessels and several patrol boats between June 20-24.

"We urge Japan to immediately cease all illegal activities in the area and ensure similar incidents do not recur," a spokesperson from China's coast guard said in a statement.

In a separate news release late Monday, the Japan Coast Guard said two of four Chinese coast guard ships in the area on Monday headed for Japanese fishing vessels operating in the territorial waters around the islands, but were "warned not to approach" and "repeatedly ordered to leave".

(Reporting by Ella Cao and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Editing by Alison Williams and Gerry Doyle)