Chinese trawler captain returns home

Trawler captain Zhan Qixiong, who was detained on September 7 by Japanese Coast Guard vessels off Diaoyu Islands which was also called Senkaku islands by Japan, arrived safely in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, the state-run media reported.

Zhan said his detention was illegal as the islands belonged to China and Chinese fishermen have every right to fish in the waters around the islands. His release came after China after Beijing detained four Japanese three days ago for allegedly taking video film of military targets.

China has expressed "strong protest" against Japan, whose detention, investigation or any form of judiciary measures for the Chinese trawler and fishermen are unlawful and invalid, Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the captain's return to the country.

"China asked the Japanese side to make apology and compensation for the incident," the statement said, adding, "Such an act seriously infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and violated the human rights of Chinese citizens." The islands located in the East China Sea are administered by Japan China and Taiwan. Besides Japan claims territorial rights over it. The waters around islands were believed to have rich deposits of oil and natural gas.

The Diaoyu Islands and surrounding islets have been China's inherent territory since the ancient time and China possesses undisputable sovereignty over the islands, the statement said.

"China and Japan are two close neighbours. It is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples to adhere to the development of Sino-Japanese strategic relations of mutual benefits," it said, adding that the two sides should resolve the problems of their relationship through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain the overall situation of the bilateral relations.

"The stance of the Chinese side has not and will not change," it said Japan said the skipper of the trawler was detained on the ground that his vessel has rammed into JCGs and damaged them. It released the 14 member crew and the trawler but kept Zhan Qixiong under judicial custody after he was formally charged under Japanese law.

Zhan was released yesterday by Japanese prosecutors stating that the collusion of his vessel with the JCGs was unintentional and he has no previous criminal record and released in the over overall interest of Japan-China ties.

Meanwhile, reports from Tokyo said detained four Japanese were the employees of urban redevelopment company Fujita Corp. They were in China as part of a project to dispose of chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese military in China at the end of World War II. There is no word here yet about their fate.

China during the last fortnight mounted a massive diplomatic pressure on Japan summoning its Ambassador in Beijing six times in the past fortnight besides halting all exchanges between the two countries, cancelling tours of Chinese tourists. Also Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in New York three days ago that Japan should release the captain unconditionally or face "further actions".

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

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