Nation & World News

Chinese Balloonist Rescued At Sea By Japanese Coast Guard

By Scott Neuman on January 2nd, 2014

A Chinese balloonist has been rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard after coming down in the East China Sea short of his intended destination — a tiny island chain that’s part of a territorial tug of war between Beijing and Tokyo.

Japan Times writes:

“Xu Shuaijun, a 35-year-old cook, set out from Fujian province on Wednesday morning, aiming to land on one of the islets in the Japan-controlled [Senkaku] chain, which China claims as Diaoyu and Taiwan as Tiaoyutai, the Coast Guard official said.

“He sent out a distress call after encountering trouble near the islets in the East China Sea, the official said.

“A Japanese rescue helicopter found the balloon 22 km [13 miles] south of the chain and rescued Xu, who was unhurt, the official said. He was handed over to a Chinese patrol ship outside of Japanese waters.”

The New York Times says it was Taiwanese authorities who alerted the Japanese to Xu’s water landing.

“The Chinese vessel thanked the Coast Guard via radio for the rescue operation,” the Japanese Coast Guard said.

There was no mention of Xu’s condition after his rescue.

As the Times writes:

“Chinese nationals have occasionally attempted to land on the contested islands to press the country’s territorial claims, with a group of protesters who set off from Hong Kong going so far as to plant a flag on an island before being detained by the Japanese Coast Guard.

“The attempted balloon landing and peaceful resolution came amid tension between China and Japan over their conflicting territorial claims, a recent visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to a shrine seen by many as a symbol of his country’s wartime aggression and China’s announcement of an air defense identification zone that encompasses the disputed maritime areas.

“It was also a far cry from other recent doings in the similarly contentious South China Sea, where a United States Navy cruiser almost collided in December with a Chinese ship during routine maneuvers in the contested waters, raising new fears of military conflict.”

The Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute has also led to provocative close-quarters maneuvers between Japanese and Chinese naval forces. The standoff grew particularly tense after Japan nationalized the islands in an effort to solidify its claim.

As we reported last year, the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute is part of a broader, multination, array of claims and counterclaims in the East China and South China seas that threatens peace and stability in the region.

Last March, for example, Chinese forces fired on a Vietnamese vessel engaged in fishing near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

Both Japan and China have sought to increase the size and capability of their naval forces in recent years, with the various disputed islands cited as among the reasons.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

#NPRreads: The ‘Grexit,’ Video Games And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

Also this week, misconceptions about slavery. And, the struggle for gay Christians trying to keep the faith.


Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.


Iceland’s Pirate Party Wins Repeal Of Blasphemy Law

The insurgent political movement, which has just three members in parliament, led the rollback of the 75-year-old law that made it a crime to “ridicule or insult” religious teachings.


The popular Reddit question-and-answer section /r/IAmA, along with hundreds of others, have shut down in an apparent protest over the dismissal of a key figure at the social sharing site.

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

After the firing of a key figure at the website, moderators of many of Reddit’s most popular sections have gone private in apparent protest.


Health insurance giant Aetna has announced a $37 billion plan to acquire rival Humana.

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

If the deal passes antitrust scrutiny, it would be the largest such acquisition in the insurance industry. It’s the latest sign of consolidation in health insurance in the wake of Obamacare.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments