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China Goes On Offensive, Demands Apology From Japan

Beijing, Sept 25: China on Saturday launched an offensive against Japan, demanding an apology and compensation over what it called the "illegal" detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain, hours after he was freed and
PTI September 25, 2010 16:56 IST
PTI
Beijing, Sept 25: China on Saturday launched an offensive against Japan, demanding an apology and compensation over what it called the "illegal" detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain, hours after he was freed and sent back.  Captain Zhan Qixiong, who was detained on September 7 by Japanese Coast Guard vessels off the disputed Diaoyu Islands, arrived in Fuzhou, the capital of southeast China's Fujian Province by a chartered flight.

 Zhan said his detention was illegal as the Diaoyu islands, known as Senkaku islands in Japan, belonged to China and Chinese fishermen have every right to fish in the waters around the islands.  China had earlier launched a diplomatic offensive against Japan and warned of "further actions" if the captain was not freed unconditionally.

His release came after China detained four Japanese nationals three days back for allegedly shooting video footage of military targets.  Soon after his arrival Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a strong statement, saying it has lodged its "strong protest" with Japan and asserted that the detention, investigation or any form of judicial measures are unlawful and invalid.  "China asked the Japanese side to make apology and compensation for the incident. Such an act seriously infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and violated the human rights of Chinese citizens," it said.  However, later in the day Beijing struck a more conciliatory note on the issue of its territorial disputes in the South China Sea involving ASEAN countries which aligned with Japan and United States.  

"China has and always will work for the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in another statement, reacting to Philippine President Benigno Aquino's remarks on the issue in New York today.  Aquino said that ASEAN members will oppose any move by China to claim sovereignty over disputed territories.  "If China does push its weight around (on the South China Sea dispute), we as ASEAN will stand as a bloc and oppose that.  "Hopefully, we won't have to call it the South China Sea because it is not just their sea," he said. 

Jiang, in her response, said China hopes the concerned states, including the Philippines, will deal with the relevant disputes with the same spirit as China while promoting good-neighbourly relations and mutual trust among countries in the region, ensuring the region's e region, ensuring the region's peace and stability.  The islands located in the East China Sea are administered by Japan, but China and Taiwan too claim territorial rights over them.PTI