Chinese cook crashes on balloon to disputed isles

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Associated Press

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 2:04 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Coast Guard says it has rescued a Chinese cook who tried to fly a hot-air balloon to islands claimed by both China and Japan.

The Coast guard said Thursday that Xu Shuaijun, 35, crashed into the sea Wednesday after hitting turbulence as he approached the islands, known in Japan as Senkaku and Diayou in China.

The Coast Guard says they received a missing-person report from Taiwan, and that Xu was spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the islands. He was picked up by a boat and later handed over to a Chinese patrol ship.

The Coast Guard said his life is not in danger, although details are not available.

Bilateral relations have plunged recently, partly due to the dispute over the islands.

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