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Rare Earth Diplomacy: Japan Holds Chinese Boat Captain;China Blocks Rare Earth Exports to Japan;China Holds 4 Japanese on Spy Charges;Captain Set Free

By Mike Shedlock on 09/24/2010 – 12:00 am PDTLeave a Comment

Tensions between China and Japan reached new heights in an escalating war of nerves between Japan and China. Here is the approximate sequence of events.

Japan kicked things off on September 7, with the arrest of a Chinese boat captain in disputed waters. In an escalating dispute, China blocked exports of rare earth metals to Japan on September 22.

Rare earth minerals are used in manufacturing and weapons production. The US gets most of its rare earth elements from China.

Tensions increased on September 23 when China arrested four Japanese employees of Fujita Corp on suspicion of violating Chinese law regarding the protection of military facilities.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton entered the fray “urging dialogue”.

The House Armed Services Committee scheduled a hearing on Oct. 5 to review the American military dependence on Chinese rare earth elements.

Japan releases captain.

September 10, 2010: China demands Japan release detained boat captain

China’s foreign minister demanded that Tokyo immediately release the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with two Japanese patrol vessels near disputed islands. But a Japanese court ruled he can be held 10 more days, deepening the diplomatic spat.

The collisions occurred Tuesday after the Chinese fishing boat ignored warnings from the patrol vessels to leave the area and then refused to stop for an inspection, Japan’s coast guard said.

The incident happened off Japan’s Kuba island, just north of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. The islands, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of Taiwan, are controlled by Japan but are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

“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,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

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

September 14, 2010: Japan frees 14 crew, holds Chinese ship’s captain

Japan freed 14 crew members of a Chinese fishing ship nearly a week after their vessel and two Japanese patrol boats collided near disputed southern islets. But China lashed out at Tokyo’s decision to keep the captain in custody

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Tags: dispute, , patrol, , , rare earth minerals

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