China boat sinks in waters north of
islets disputed with Japan
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[June 27, 2014]
BEIJING (Reuters) - Five Chinese
fishermen are missing after a trawler sank on Friday in waters to the
north of islands disputed with Japan in the East China Sea in what
appeared to be an accident, state media said.
The boat sank in the morning, north of the islands, which China
calls the Diaoyus and Japan the Senkakus, the official Xinhua news
agency said, citing naval sources.
The dispute over the Japanese-held islets, where Chinese and
Japanese ships regularly engage in a cat-and-mouse game, has raised
fears of a clash between Asia's biggest powers that could even drag
in the United States.
The People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling
Communist Party, said on its microblog that the trawler Minxiayu
01003 had taken on water while it was fishing and sunk.
A nearby Chinese naval ship went to the scene and rescued five
sailors while another navy ship is helping to look for five who are
still missing, it added.
Japan's Coast Guard said it had sent an aircraft and a patrol boat
to the area, about 120 km (75 miles) to the north of the uninhabited
islands, which it said were in international waters.
China's proclamation last November of an air defence zone covering
large parts of the East China Sea has raised concerns that a minor
incident could quickly escalate.
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China also claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival
claims to parts from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and
Brunei in one of Asia's most intractable disputes and another
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi
Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Nick Macfie and Clarence Fernandez)
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