SKorea coastguard fires at Chinese fishing boats

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No casualties, but 2 Chinese boats seized
SEOUL: South Korean coastguard vessels fired machine guns, for the first time, against Chinese boats illegally fishing in Korean waters, an official said Wednesday.

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There were no casualties reported from the incident on Tuesday. But the Korean coastguard has seized two Chinese trawlers.

The coastguard had announced last month that it would pursue a “more aggressive” firearms policy with Chinese trawlers.

Disputes over illegal fishing have dogged relations between South Korea and China for years, and there have been numerous clashes between the coastguard and Chinese crewmembers.

Disputes over illegal fishing have dogged relations between Seoul and Beijing for years, and there have been numerous clashes between the South Korean coastguard and Chinese fishing vessels AFP/DANNY KIM

Disputes over illegal fishing have dogged relations between Seoul and Beijing for years, and there have been numerous clashes between the South Korean coastguard and Chinese fishing vessels AFP/DANNY KIM

Senior coastguard official Kim Jung-Shik said the order to fire came during a standoff with some 30 Chinese fishing boats illegally operating near the South’s Yellow Sea border with North Korea.

“They tried to ram our ships although we repeatedly warned them,” Kim told the Yonhap news agency.

“I thought our officers would be in danger if I allowed any more resistance so we ended up using the crew service weapon,” he was quoted as saying.

Initial machine gun bursts were fired into the air, but the crew was later ordered to fire on the bows of the Chinese boats that were sailing directly at the coastguard vessels.

Seoul has been asking Beijing to take a tougher stand on its vessels that have entered the South’s waters in increasing numbers to satisfy growing demand at home for fresh seafood.

Small wooden Chinese ships were once tolerated in an area where the top priority has always been guarding against potential incursions from North Korea.

But in recent years, the small boats have given way to larger steel trawlers, which engage in bottom trawling — dragging a large weighted net across the seabed that sweeps up everything in its path.

AFP

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1 Comment

  1. I hope we learned something from the South Korean coast guard, It is our RIGHT to protect what is ours, having no balls to depend it is a crime to our people. And our country’s name is at stake. That is why we need our allies, in situation like this. Insulting our allies is counter productive.