China rejects Japan`s offer of talks, demands captain’s release

China wants Japan to unconditionally release the detained trawler captain.

Beijing: China on Thursday spurned Japanese offer of high-level talks to resolve the stand off over a detained trawler captain that has turned into an acrimonious row between the two Asian powers, demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

Reacting to the offer of talks by a top Japanese official, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that Japan should unconditionally release the Chinese trawler captain to avoid further damage to the bilateral ties.

"It is futile to play tricks by deceiving the world and international public opinion," she said in a statement. Japan`s move to detain the skipper has aroused strong indignation among the Chinese people, she said.

The captain of the fishing trawler was detained off the Diaoyu islands in East China Sea on September 07 by Japanese Coast Guard vessels for ramming his boat into them causing damage. A Japanese court has extended his custody till September 29.

"It is a severe violation and flagrant challenge of China`s territorial sovereignty for Japan to illegally detain Chinese fishermen and ships in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands and insist on performing a so-called domestic judicial process involving the Chinese captain," she said.

The Japanese offer of high-level talks came yesterday after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned of "further actions" in case Japan fails to release the detained captain.

"I strongly urge the Japanese side to release the skipper immediately and unconditionally," Wen said on his arrival in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session.

"If Japan clings to its mistake, China will take further actions, and the Japanese side shall bear all the consequences that arise," he said.

In her statement, Jiang said Diaoyu Islands have been China`s inherent territory since ancient times.

"It is all too natural for China to make a necessary response. Japan`s sophistry is untenable."

By illegally detaining Chinese fishermen and their vessel and then taking provocative actions, Japan has severely violated the principles of resolving problems through dialogue and consultations as laid down in the fourth China-Japan political document as well as the spirit of the China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefits, she said.

"If Japan really values bilateral ties, it should immediately correct its mistake and unconditionally let the captain return to avoid further damaging relations," she said.

The Japanese government released the 14 member crew and the trawler and charged the captain with the violation of Japanese law.

PTI

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