China and Japan are saving their faces

Two leading Asian countries were competing with each other for two weeks, one may call their competition “save your face.” Each of the countries was standing for its rightfulness in the incident with five fugitive Koreans, who were detained by Chinese guards on the territory of the Japanese embassy in Shenyang.

The scene, when Koreans were dragged out of the gates, was filmed, and the tape became like a smash hit for world mass media, which toughened the fight between the diplomatic departments of China and Japan. South Korea presented its claims not only to China (concerning the obstacles against its country-fellows), but also to Japan - for “criminal inaction” at the moment, when the fugitives were fighting their persecutors. Furthermore, Chinese officials declared that police officers entered the territory of the embassy under the consent from one of the vice-consuls, who even thanked them for establishing law and order afterwards.

The given version is rather a plausible one due to the current epoch of universal anti-terrorist struggle, when every subject, who wishes to penetrate into a foreign embassy, looks like a suicide bomber. Japan sent a representative committee to Shenyang, and the committee determined: although the behavior of the personnel of the Japanese embassy cannot be considered as “adequate,” but its remarks cannot be interpreted as the approval of the actions of the Chinese police.

Japan asked China to apologize for violating the Vienna convention and to deliver those five fugitive Koreans to the place, where they were detained – to the consulate in Shenyang. China responded that it did not have a reason to apologize for, taking into consideration the fact that police officers’ actions corresponded to the spirit of the Vienna convention, which stipulated the protection of foreign diplomatic departments.

Then it transpired in Japan that there had been an agreement achieved with China, to deliver Korean fugitives to a third country. This news was immediately rejected by Beijing.

One of the final episodes of this save-your-face fight included Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan's statements, who claimed that the protraction of the question pertaining to the fate of those fugitives was explained with the necessity to “identify their personas” and that the question on their fate would be solved “according to the Chinese law, and other countries could not interfere in it.” Mass media informed today that five Korean fugitives were already in Seoul.

Both Tokyo and Beijing sighed with relief: the conflict had been settled, and now they could get back to celebrations devoted to the 30th anniversary of Chinese-Japanese diplomatic relations.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing

BBCRussian photo

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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