S.Korea, China agree on calm handling of boat sinking

AFP, Thursday 23 Dec 2010

South Korea and China agreed to act responsible toward last weeks boat sinking incident

South Korea and China have agreed to act "calmly" in settling a dispute over the sinking of a Chinese trawler whose crew are accused of illegal fishing, a Seoul official said Thursday. One Chinese sailor died and another was missing after the fishermen clashed with South Korean coastguards in the Yellow Sea on Saturday.

A diplomatic dispute began after China demanded that South Korea pay compensation for the sinking of the 63-tonne fishing boat and punish the coastguards involved. The situation recalled the collision in September of a Chinese trawler and two Japanese coastguard vessels


an incident that sent relations between Beijing and Tokyo plummeting to their worst level in years. But Seoul and Beijing have agreed through diplomatic consultations that the latest incident should not damage relations, South Korea's foreign ministry said. "Both governments shared the stance that the situation should be managed calmly and quickly with appropriate and fair measures," spokesman Kim Young-Sun told a briefing.

They also agreed that the incident should be dealt with "cautiously so as not to incite emotional public reactions in their own country". China's Internet chatrooms were brimming with anger after the fatal sinking. Most postings seen this week in China accused South Korea of seeking to provoke Beijing and urged the government to punish the South, although some web users called for calm.

The fishing boat capsized after ramming into the 3,000-tonne coastguard ship. Five fishermen were picked up by nearby Chinese vessels while three were detained by the South's coastguard.The coastguard said the Chinese brandished iron pipes, clubs and shovels when two small boats from the South Korean ship approached their trawler, injuring four officers.

The coastguard released a video of the clash which appeared to show the fishermen fending off the officers with metal bars. Illegal fishing by Chinese vessels is common in South Korean waters. The coastguard said 332 Chinese boats were caught last year.

Search Keywords:
Short link: