Detained Fishermen Flown Home

The crew of the Chinese fishing trawler, the Minjinyu 5179, seized by Japan last week in disputed waters in the East China Sea has returned home after being released by the Japanese authorities, but that is not the end of the matter. The captain of the vessel, Zhan Qixiong, remains under arrest in Japan. Prosecutors have a week to decide whether to lay formal charges against him. The incident has caused increasingly strong diplomatic protests by Beijing, which has canceled talks due later this month with Japan over developing oil and gas fields in the disputed waters.

4 Comments

Filed under China-Japan

4 responses to “Detained Fishermen Flown Home

  1. Its hard to judge how much of the Chinese protests are routine and how much is a genuine souring of Sino-Japanese relations (i blogged about this- http://sino-gist.blogspot.com/2010/09/sailing-close-to-wind.html). The BBC seemed to think that the long-term fallout from the incident will not be substantial- much will depend on whether the captain is charged…

  2. @Sino-Gist: This incident touches two Chinese nerves; the first is the long-standing animosity between China and Japan, which is rarely far from the surface and can easily be scratched open by any incident. The second is Beijing’s growing naval presence in the Western Pacific, not just the build up of its fleet but also an increasing assertiveness over its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. Rich energy and mineral deposits lie under both seabeds, so my sense is that Beijing wants to extend both its political and economic domain over both. Any countervailing claim cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. Hence Beijing’s denouncement of Japan trying to impose its domestic law in Chinese waters. In that context, whether or not charges are laid against the captain of the trawler becomes significant to the longer-term impact of this incident.

  3. Pingback: How Serious Is The Sino-Japanese Trawler Incident? « China Bystander

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