World Bulletin / News Desk
The South Korean government made an official complaint to China on Sunday as it emerged that a coast guard vessel had reportedly sank after being rammed by Chinese fishing boats two days earlier.
While no casualties were reported, a 50-year-old South Korean officer had to be rescued from the water.
The Chinese vessel is reported to have subsequently fled the scene.
According to local media, Seoul’s foreign ministry called in Beijing’s consul general, blaming the incident on illegal fishing by Chinese crews after Incheon Coast Guard claimed the vessels in question deliberately collided with the much smaller South Korean patrol speedboat.
Coast guard chief Lee Joo-seong condemned the clash as “attempted murder,” and demanded that Chinese authorities arrest the two crews directly involved – although there were apparently dozens of unlicensed vessels operating in South Korea’s exclusive economic zone when the incident happened Friday afternoon.
“China’s illegal fishing boats are crossing the line. We are considering using weapons against violent ships, which we have been refraining from, and will not allow such things to happen again,” Lee was quoted as saying by The Korea Herald newspaper.
Seoul and Beijing have plenty of recent diplomatic experience in handling tensions over illegal Yellow Sea fishing.
China’s attempts to appease South Korea have included educating crews.
A series of confrontations have led to fatalities on both sides, including at the end of last month when Chinese consular officials demanded an investigation into the deaths of three citizens whose boat caught fire during a raid.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2016, 16:52