Seoul says sinking of boat by China fishers regrettable

Korean coast guard boat sank after reportedly rammed and surrounded by 100-ton Chinese vessels

Seoul says sinking of boat by China fishers regrettable

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korea’s presidential office weighed in on escalating tensions between Coast Guard officers and illegal Chinese fishermen Monday, condemning the sinking of a local patrol boat last week as “regrettable”.

The comment came from a Blue House (presidential) spokesperson during a briefing a day after details of Friday’s incident were revealed to the public.

The 4.5-ton boat was on patrol when it was reportedly deliberately rammed and surrounded by 100-ton Chinese vessels

Around 40 illegal fishing crews are reported to have been operating in the South’s exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea at the time of the collision.

A 50-year-old officer had to be rescued from the water and Coast Guard chief Lee Joo-seong labeled the incident as “attempted murder”.

While Seoul’s foreign ministry called in Beijing’s consul general to file a complaint, there has been growing discontent in South Korea over the government’s seeming inability to force China to take firmer action to control its fishermen -- especially since the fatal stabbing of a South Korean Coast Guard officer as he conducted a raid five years ago.

Beijing has previously vowed to educate crews but its consular officials also requested an investigation into the deaths of three Chinese citizens whose boat caught fire during a crackdown by the South on unlicensed fishing late last month.

South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party demanded a tough response from Seoul Monday, including tracing those responsible for Friday’s sinking and potentially relaxing restrictions on the use of force against illegal fishermen, who often wield crude weapons or seek refuge in locked compartments when fleeing.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2016, 11:58