Japan Frees Chinese Fishing Boat Captain
China is demanding a full apology, of course, and the Japanese are declining to apologize. I think the line about the “importance” of the diplomatic ties between China and Japan really means “we need the Chinese rare earth minerals.”
In case you’re wondering about what I mean, the Chinese panda throwing its weight around.Click that link and see what I mean.
Japan has turned down China’s demand for a formal apology after releasing a Chinese fishing boat captain who was detained for two weeks in Okinawa.
Zhan Qixiong was arrested earlier this month after his trawler collided with two Japanese patrol vessels near disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Despite his release, the two countries remain locked in their worst diplomatic row for years.
Tensions were further heightened when China detained four Japanese this week.
The four who were working for a Japanese construction company were questioned on suspicion of filming in a military zone.
Mr Zhan left Okinawa on Friday evening on a specially chartered plane sent by the government of China.
After his release, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement reiterating its “strong protest” and what it called its “indisputable” claim to the islands.
“The Japanese side must make an apology and compensation for this incident,” the statement said.
A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman described China’s demand as “totally groundless” and said it could not be accepted.
Tokyo insisted it had handled the case strictly in accordance with its own laws.
After landing at Fuzhou Airport in Fujian Province, Zhan Qixiong said he was thankful to be free and repeated his claim of innocence.
“The Diaoyutai Islands are a part of China. I went there to fish. That’s legal,” said the fisherman.
“Those people grabbed me – that was illegal,” he said.
Prosecutors in Japan said their decision to release the captain was based on the deepening rift between Beijing and Tokyo.