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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chinese Man Tries To Fly Balloon To Disputed Islands

On January 1, 2014, Japan's Coastguard rescued a Chinese cook who crashed his balloon in the East China Sea while trying to reach the Senkaku Islands owned by Japan, but also claimed as property by the Chinese (as the Diayou Islands), and Taiwan (as the Diaoyutai Islands)... and I think also by South Korea.

The cook, known as Xu Shuaijun, 35, crashed his balloon on January 1, 2014 in the waters after hitting some turbulence, causing his balloon to collapse like a fallen souffle.

The Japanese coastguard came to the rescue after it received a missing-person report from Taiwanese officials.

Anyhow, a Japanese coastguard helicopter spotted Xu and his collapsed balloon in the water about 20 kilometers (12.25 miles) from the islands.

After being picked up by a boat, Xu was handed over to a Chinese patrol ship.

Below is a Japanese-language news video from the FNN broadcaster, who posted the video on YouTube:

Does anyone know how FNN got photos from the air of the balloon in the water... but did not have a video? I mean come on! I don't have a video camera... but I have a digital camera that can take a few minutes of video... and most people have far greater electronics devices than me! I'm one of the few people on the planet who does not have a cell phone (George, Rob and Caroline I believe are the others)... so surely... while the photographer was up in the air taking photographs, they could also have taken a bit of video... maybe with a cell phone?

Whatever... you'll notice that FNN's news broadcast spruced up its news report with stock image of the Diayou/Sendaku islands... very... oh, I don't know... let's use a quote from the Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Ohhhhhh, Rocky!"

That, my friends, is apparently what China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan deem worth causing an international incident over.

Granted... it is very pretty... certainly a nice place to set up some hotels, a casino... a legal brothel or three... maybe those island should simply be declared the property of all four countries... and could be developed and shared by each country... not zoned as four separate entities like East and West Germany or South and North Korea or the two states of Virginia... (I'm kidding), but as a neutral, tax-free zone country... come on... think people... think... work together!

Now... since I am a fan of some cool and corny martial arts movies... Steven Segal... didn't he once pretend to be a cook? In the 1992 movie Under Siege, Segal plays Chief Petty Officer Casey Ryback, a cook (and former US SEAL) trying stop a band of terrorists... well... now we know why he didn't use a balloon as part of his operations.

By the way... where does a cook get a hot-air balloon in China? And... despite crashing it into the sea... where did he learn to fly it? Pretty brave or pretty stupid... whatever... pretty impressive!

And... on a more serious note... if you look at the facts of this rescue... Japan, working on a tip from Taiwan, rescued a Chinese dude. Who says we can't all get along?

Well... politicians and the media say that... but... what the hell, eh? This adventure was a great start for international relations for 2014... and can almost make everyone forget about the whole Yasukuni Shrine debacle.

Andrew Joseph

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