Diplo­matic row over ves­sel sink­ing

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

South Korea yes­ter­day sum­moned China’s am­bas­sador to protest what it says was the ram­ming and sink­ing of a South Korean coast guard ves­sel by Chi­nese fish­ing boats.

The sink­ing hap­pened on Fri­day when coast guard of­fi­cers were try­ing to stop about 40 Chi­nese fish­ing boats from sus­pected il­le­gal fish­ing off South Korea’s west coast. No ca­su­al­ties were re­ported, ac­cord­ing to the coast guard.

One coast guard of­fi­cer was on the South Korean ves­sel rammed by two Chi­nese boats be­fore he jumped into the wa­ter and was rescued by his col­leagues. Eight other coast guard of­fi­cers had boarded a Chi­nese boat for an in­spec­tion, the coast guard said in a state­ment.

South Korea’s For­eign Min­istry sum­moned the Chi­nese am­bas­sador, Qiu Guo­hong, and com­plained about the sink­ing. On Sun­day, the min­istry sum­moned the Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral, ac­cord­ing to min­istry of­fi­cials.

Beijing’s For­eign Min­istry said on Mon­day that Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties were still ver­i­fy­ing the sit­u­a­tion but urged South Korea to re­main calm.

South Korean me­dia re­ported that coast guard of­fi­cers fired shots at the fish­ing boats and into the sky as the boats ap­proached the South Korean ves­sel.

Coast guard of­fi­cials yes­ter­day con­firmed that warn­ing shots were fired into the sky, but said they were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing if any were fired at the Chi­nese boats.

The coast guard said the ves­sel that was sunk, at 4.5 tonnes, was dis­patched from a larger ship to in­spect the fish­ing boats. It said one of the Chi­nese boats was much larger at 100 tonnes.

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