News / Asia

Japan to Release Chinese Trawler Captain Involved in Boat Collision

Multimedia

Audio

Japanese prosecutors say they will release a Chinese trawler captain who has been detained since his boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels in disputed waters. The incident enraged China, which retaliated by canceling meetings with Japanese officials and, traders say, halting shipments of essential exports.

Heavy security was apparent in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing Friday, although there were few signs of the scattered protests that had taken place in recent weeks.

China sends plane

Shortly after Japanese prosecutors said they would free a detained Chinese boat captain, China said it would send a chartered plane to bring him back home.

Japanese authorities detained the captain earlier this month after his fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near islands Tokyo controls and China claims.

China called his detention illegal, and canceled diplomatic meetings and student visits. There were reports this week that Beijing also halted shipments to Japan of rare earth minerals, which are essential for electronics and auto parts.

Conflict avoided

Japanese officials say they decided to free the captain to avoid worsening ties with China.

Tsinghua University international relations professor Liu Jiangyong says he thinks the timing of Japan's decision to release the Chinese captain is good.

Liu says if the Japanese had pursued legal action against the captain, it would have further worsened relations between the two countries, and would have damaged economic opportunities.

China has been Japan's biggest trading partner since 2009.

Dispute over Diaoyu vs Senkaku

The dispute over the islands has long festered between the two nations. The seabed around the uninhabited islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu and the Japanese call the Senkaku, is believed to be rich in natural gas and other resources.

The dispute also underscores the fragility of ties still troubled by disputes over Japan's behavior before and during World War Two.

Therese Leung, an associate fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, says she thinks the Chinese response in this case was excessive.

"The last thing I'd want to do is to not appear mature and reasonable and ready," Leung said. "And I think that their (China's) response to Japan has not been mature and reasonable."

Leung, who has worked for years in the U.S. Congress and for the government in Washington, says the United States has been watching the China-Japan spat closely.

Neighbors watch closely

Southeast Asian countries also have been closely watching developments.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar, at the Habibie Center's Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in Jakarta, says she was concerned.

"So, the increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Beijing threatening Japan and so on, I think sends a rather unwelcome news to the rest of the region," said Anwar. "We don't know whether this is a reflection of China's overall assertiveness, its increasing self-confidence, and so on, but it doesn't give China a very good image in the wider Asian region."

Southeast Asian nations also have territorial disputes with China – over the Spratly and Paracel island chains – in the South China Sea. Those uninhabited islands also are believed to lie on top of rich gas deposits.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid