China cancels talks with Japan amid diplomatic row

China wants Japan to unconditionally release the boat and all the crew.

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 00:33 AM IST

Beijing: China on Friday put off its talks with Japan on the East China Sea issue amid a diplomatic row over the detention of a captain and crew of a Chinese fishing boat that was "seized" after it collided with two Japanese patrol vessels near disputed islands.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said last night that China has put off its talks with Japan on the East China Sea issue as part of its response to the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat.

The decision came after a Japanese court granted a request by prosecutors for a 10-day detention of the captain of a Chinese trawler which collided with Japanese patrol ships off the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea on Tuesday.
The postponed talks, the second governmental negotiations on the principle common understandings on the East China Sea issue, was scheduled for mid-September, according to Jiang.

"The Japanese side has ignored China`s repeated solemn representations and firm opposition, and obstinately decided to put the Chinese captain under the so-called judiciary procedures. China expresses strong discontent and grave protest to the move," Jiang said.

"The Diaoyu islands and its adjacent islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times. Japan`s acts have violated the law of nations and basic international common sense, and is ridiculous, illegal and invalid," Jiang said.

"Japan will reap as it has sown, if it continues to act recklessly," she warned.

Earlier, the Japanese ambassador was summoned for a third time in four days to demand the release of the captain and crew of a fishing vessel seized off disputed islands.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa, protested against Japan`s illegal seizure of a Chinese fishing boat in waters off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which was claimed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

Yang informed Niwa about the Chinese government`s determination to defend the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and the interests of Chinese people was unswerving, a Foreign Ministry statement here said.

The Foreign Minister said China demanded Japan immediately and unconditionally release the boat and all the crew, including the captain.

Officials here said China may send a law enforcement ship to the area.

Reports from Japan say that Tokyo is going ahead with the prosecution of the captain and the crew under its domestic law ignoring protests from Beijing.

According to reports in the Japanese media, the Chinese fishing vessel with captain and 14 crew members "deliberately rammed" into one of the Japanese coast guard vessels off Diaoyu Islands which were called by Japanese as Senkaku islands.

The boat later hit a second Japanese cost guard vessel when it was asked to halt damaging its hull.

"Initially, high-ranking (Japanese) coast guard officers assumed the first crash might have been caused by high waves. But after the second collision, they realised the Chinese boat captain had deliberately rammed their vessels," a report in the Japanese daily The Asahi Shimbun said.

It said the Chinese fishing boats operating in waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands increased markedly in August, but they all obeyed warnings from coast guard vessels to leave those waters when challenged.

"At that point, the alternative of having the boat leave Japanese waters and not filing criminal charges evaporated," the daily quoted coast guard official as saying.

Chinese analysts appearing on the state television here apprehend that the incident coming close on the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s recent statement at ASEAN meet, seeking the US’ role in the resolution of the South China disputes.

Several countries including Japan, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines claim territorial rights over a host of islands in South China Sea.

Zhou Yongsheng, professor at China Foreign Affairs University, said it was the first time that Japan said it would handle issues related to the Diaoyu Islands by applying its domestic law.

This indicated Japan had taken a tougher stance on the issue, state-run China Daily quoted him as saying.

PTI