Chinese maritime authorities said Thursday that navigation of vessels will be prohibited in designated waters north of Taiwan on Sunday as rocket debris may fall in the area that is near the Tokyo-controlled, Beijing-claimed Senkaku Islands.

The announcement by China's Maritime Safety Administration is believed to be related to the country's notification to its neighbors Wednesday that it will establish a no-fly zone north of Taiwan on Sunday morning for "aerospace activities."

The rocket wreckage may fall between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, the administration said. Speculation is rife that China will launch a satellite, and the rocket mentioned by the maritime authorities may be related to it.

File photo taken in September 2012 shows the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. (Kyodo)

Meanwhile, Beijing plans to close the airspace about 85 nautical miles from the island's north shore for 27 minutes from 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Taiwan authorities. The zone includes part of Japan's exclusive economic zone near the Senkakus in the East China Sea.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Thursday that Tokyo had sought a further explanation from Beijing on the planned airspace closure.

China's plan to set up the no-fly zone will affect about 33 flights and possibly require "less than one hour" of extra travel time to detour, Taiwan's Central News Agency quoted the island's transportation minister, Wang Kwo-tsai, as saying Thursday.

The no-fly area covers many international flight routes, linking such destinations as Japan, South Korea and the United States, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry.

The development follows the rise of cross-strait tensions triggered by talks last week in California between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

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