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Timeline: China, Japan diplomatic dispute intensifies after boat seized

09-20-2010 19:56 BJT

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Tensions have continued to escalate between China and Japan, nearly two weeks after a Chinese fishing boat was seized off the Diaoyu Islands by the Japanese coast guard. Let's reviews the timeline of the crisis, and how it has strained relations between the two countries.

On September 7th, a Chinese fishing boat was intercepted off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea after a collision with Japanese patrol vessels.

Later that day, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao summoned Japan's ambassador to China and lodged solemn representations on the interception of the Chinese fishing boat.

Japan's Coast Guard detained the captain of the Chinese fishing boat on September 8th despite China's protest.

Shortly after, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue summoned Japan's ambassador the second time within 24 hours to lodge the protest. Hu demanded that Japan immediately release the ship and crew members and guarantee their safety.

On September 9th, Japan's Coast Guard sent the captain of the fishing boat to prosecutors in Okinawa Prefecture.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular briefing that "China will never accept Japan applying domestic law to the Chinese fishing boat operating in that area", and that Japan's handling of the situation was "absurd, illegal and invalid."

On September 10th, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned Japan's Ambassador again and said the Chinese government's determination to defend the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and the interests of Chinese people was unswerving.

Two days later, State Councilor Dai Bingguo summoned Japan's Ambassador for the fourth time and warned Tokyo not to make a wrong judgment on the situation and urged it to make a "wise political resolution" .

On September 13th, the 14 Chinese fishermen were freed by Japan, and returned home on a chartered flight. But Japan continued to hold Zhan Qixiong, the captain.

On September 16th, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu again urged Japan to immediately release the captain, saying the detention is "a protruding obstacle" to Sino-Japanese ties.

On September 19th, Japan decided to extend the detention of the captain to Sept. 29. On the same day, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya summoned Japan's ambassador for the sixth time. He said "the incident created by the Japanese side has severely damaged China-Japan relations." China has already suspended high level exchanges with Japan, from the provincial and ministerial levels.

The Diaoyu Islands lie about 190-kilometers east of Taiwan. China has had the sovereigntyover the Islands since ancient time.

News Review: Diaoyu Islands incident

Time: 10:15 am, September 7th

Location: Waters off Diaoyu Islands

Incident: Chinese fishing boat Minjinyu collided with the 1,349-ton Japanese patrol boat Yonakuni and then with another patrol boat, the Mizuki in waters some 12 kilometers northwest of the Diaoyu Islands.

Development of the incident:

September 13th: 14 seized Chinese fishermen return home

After China's repeated solemn representations, 14 Chinese fishermen illegally seized by Japanese authorities have flown back to east China's port city of Fuzhou. However the captain of their boat is still detained by the Japanese side. Full Story>>

September 10th: China decided to postpone a negotiation with Japan on the East China Sea issue

September 10th: Chinese fishing boat captain was detained and brought to local court.

September 8th - 12th: China summoned Japanese ambassador three times and repeatedly lodged solemn representations and firm opposition 

September 8th: Japanese Coast Guard seized a Chinese fishing boat in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands.


China's reaction and stance

China suspends govt. contact with Japan

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya met with Japan's ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa on Sunday evening to further protest Japan's decision to extend the detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain. Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu says China's relations with Japan have been severely hurt. Full Story>>

Chinese State Councilor urges Japan to make wise political resolution

Dai warned Japan not to make a wrong judgement on the situation and urged it to make a "wise political resolution" and immediately release the fishermen and return the boat. Full Story>>

Chinese FM demands immediate release of Chinese fishing boat and captain

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has summoned Japan's Ambassador, Uichiro Niwa, to lodge a protest over the illegal detention of a Chinese fishing boat and its captain near the Diaoyu Islands. Full Story>>

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister summons Japan's ambassador

The ministry has demanded that Japan release the detained Chinese ship and crew members and guarantee their safety. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue summoned the Japanese ambassador, Uichiro Niwa, on Wednesday to lodge the protest. Full Story>>

Chinese FM: Japan's handling absurd, illegal, and invalid

The Chinese government has demanded Japan release the ship and crew members, who have been detained by its Coast Guard near the Diaoyu Islands since early Wednesday. Full Story>>

Chinese FM spokeswoman Jiang Yu:

"The Diaoyu Islands and their adjacent islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times."

"China will never accept Japan applying its domestic laws to Chinese fishing boat operating in that area. Such handling was absurd, illegal, and invalid." 

"If not handled properly, the incident will seriously undermine the general situation of China-Japan relations."



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