A Chinese man landed himself,
literally, in the midst of a territorial dispute between Asia's
two great powers, crash-landing a hot air balloon near contested
islands held by Japan.
The Japanese coastguard said on Thursday it had rescued the
balloonist, identified as 35-year-old-chef Xu Shuaijun, on
Wednesday in the sea near the tiny isles, called the Senkaku by
Japan and Diaoyu by China.
The man's attempt to land his multicoloured balloon on the
rocky outcrops looks unlikely to have big repercussions for the
two countries, as a coastguard spokesman said Japan
over to a Chinese patrol vessel on Wednesday evening and Japan
coastguard was operating as normal.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang described the
man as a "balloon enthusiast", and confirmed he had been handed
over to a Chinese vessel upon being rescued and was in good
health. He declined further comment.
Xu's adventure comes amid high tension over the disputed
territory between the world's second- and third-biggest