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

NFL’s Goodell Confirms Tom Brady’s 4-Game Suspension

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady supported “the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs” below required levels, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says.


Jennifer Welter, who played in a Texas Revolution game as a running back in 2014, will help coach the linebacker corps for the Arizona Cardinals this summer.

Arizona Cardinals Hire Female Coach For Training Camp And Preseason

“I am honored to be a part of this amazing team,” says Jen Welter, an athlete and sports psychologist.


Giant Panda Jia Jia Celebrates 37th Birthday And 2 Guinness World Records

Jia Jia, who lives at a Hong Kong amusement park, became the oldest panda ever living in captivity and the oldest panda currently living in captivity. In human terms, Jia Jia would be more than 100.


Joyce Mitchell, who has reached a plea deal over charges that she aided a prison escape, is seen here during a June court date, along with her lawyer, Steven Johnston.

Former N.Y. Prison Employee Enters Guilty Plea Related To Inmates’ Escape

Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility worker who was charged last month with aiding two convicted killers’ escape, has reached a deal with prosecutors.


President Obama delivers a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday.

Obama Asks African Countries To Create Jobs, Foster Democracy

President Obama is the first sitting American president to address the African Union. The speech capped a five-day trip to Kenya and Ethiopia.


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