TOKYO — Japan freed the captain and crew members of a Chinese fishing boat that entered its waters near Kagoshima prefecture over the weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
The boat’s captain, Lin Shiqin, and two of the vessel’s crew members, were released after being brought in for questioning on Dec. 29, Xinhua reported, citing the Chinese Consulate General in Fukuoka.
The incident comes amid a dispute between China and Japan over territorial claims in the East China Sea, with China asserting sovereignty over uninhabited islands that are administered by Japan.
The detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain in September 2010 in the area of the islands — known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese — strained relations between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies.
Chinese ships conducted patrols around the islands today, Xinhua reported, citing the State Oceanic Administration.
In a briefing today, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated China’s claim of sovereignty over the islands.
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