Japan Arrests Chinese Fishing Boat Captain Amid China Protests (Updated)
A collision between a Chinese fishing boat and a Japanese Coast Guard vessel near the disputed Diaoyu (aka Senkaku) Islands has caused a diplomatic crisis between China and Japan. Today, Japan arrested the captain of the Chinese boat. From Business Week:
Japan said it arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat for colliding with one of its Coast Guard vessels near a chain of islands claimed by both countries. China lodged a formal complaint demanding the captain’s release.
“The vessel was illegally fishing in Japanese territorial waters around the islands,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told reporters today in Tokyo, adding that the captain struck the Japanese patrol boat after coast guard warnings. “We will address the issue rigorously according to our laws.”
The incident took place yesterday in the East China Sea near islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. Sovereignty over the area, which is close to gas fields and a shipping lane, would give the holder rights to undersea oil reserves.
Update (9/8/10 noon PST):
The New York Times has an update on the situation:
On Wednesday morning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Japan’s ambassador for the second time in 24 hours to protest Japan’s response to a Chinese fishing boat that had entered disputed waters.
On Tuesday, two Japanese naval vessels tried to intercept the Chinese boat, but the three collided. On Wednesday, the boat’s captain was taken to the Japanese island of Okinawa for questioning.
“We demand Japanese patrol boats refrain from so-called law enforcement activities in waters off the Diaoyu islands,” the spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Jiang Yu, said Tuesday at a weekly news conference, according to the state-run official Xinhua news agency. “We will closely follow the situation and reserve our right to take further actions.”