The speed with which the fishing boat dispute turned ugly suggests how little has been achieved in China-Japan reconciliation over the past five years, say analysts.
The fierce row over Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters “shows how really fragile and easily changeable relations are” between the two countries, says Mel Gurtov, chief editor of the Seoul-based “Asian Perspective” quarterly.
The surprising speed with which the dispute turned ugly also suggested “how little has actually been achieved” by continuous efforts at Sino-Japanese reconciliation over the past five years, says Tobias Harris, who runs observingjapan.com.
Japan’s release of the trawler captain, accused of deliberately ramming Japanese patrol boats, did not defuse the crisis. Beijing then demanded an apology and compensation for his detention, which Tokyo bluntly refused.
Instead, Japan has demanded that China pay for repairs to its damaged patrol vessels, and repeatedly complained to Beijing about the presence of two Chinese fisheries protection ships near the islands at the heart of the territorial dispute, since Friday.