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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid