Tuesday 08 November 2011
Japan Arrests Chinese Captain for Refusing Inspection
Diplomacy wanes between two countries
In latest developments of maritime disputes between Japan and China, the Japanese coast guard has arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel on Sunday after they refused to undergo inspection while sailing in Japanese territorial waters.
The Chinese boat had been spotted by the coast guard near the Goto Islands off of Nagasaki in SW Japan. The Japanese asked the vessel to stop using commands and signs in the Chinese language; however the vessel ignored the calls, according to the Nagasaki Coast Guard Office.
After the vessel ignored the calls for on board inspection, the coast guard patrol ship chased down the vessel for nearly 4 and a half hours, according to AFP reports. Once caught, the 47-year-old Chinese captain was arrested for violating fishing laws in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the coast guard stated.
The incident follows a string of events that has caused crumbling diplomatic relations between the two nations. Tensions flared last year when a Chinese trawler slammed two Japanese coast guard patrol boats near the islands of Senkaku and Diaoyu in the East China Sea. The Japanese coast guard arrested that boat captain and held him for 2 weeks.
China reacted to the event with fury, holding protests, cancelling meetings and cultural events in a “diplomatic offensive” that even continued after Japan released the captain. Nationalist sentiments were ignited on both sides at that point, with street protests igniting in both countries.
China and Japan have been feuding over maritime territorial claims in the East China Sea. China had discovered an underwater natural gas field, which lies partly in Japan’s EEZ, partly in China’s EEZ, and partly in disputed areas that is hoping to be claimed by both countries.
The two countries agreed this year to try and improve ties as tensions were on the rise in 2010. How this latest incident will affect relations between China and Japan has yet to be seen.