Beijing vows to resolve fishing boat clash
Updated: 2012-05-04 08:54
Beijing on Thursday said it has remained in contact with the Republic of Korea and is willing to work with Seoul to properly handle the recent clash between a Chinese fishing boat and the ROK's Coast Guard.
The response came amid a series of fishery disputes between both countries in the past year, and analysts said it will take time to eradicate violence and clashes between Chinese fishermen and Seoul's Coast Guard.
Reports say the conflict took place in the Yellow Sea between a Chinese vessel and ROK coast guard officers on Monday morning. The incident left four of the coast guards injured and resulted in nine Chinese fishermen being detained.
China's consulate-general in Gwangju has sent personnel to greet the detained Chinese crew, and has kept in close touch with Seoul to jointly handle the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a daily news conference in Beijing.
Beijing has said that Chinese fishermen must adhere to the related regulatory provisions of the China-ROK Fishery Agreement while implementing fishery operations in defined waters, Liu said.
"In the meantime, we hope the related governing bodies of Seoul will enforce laws in a civilized way, and urge Seoul to jointly promote the healthy development of bilateral fishery cooperation," Liu said.
More detailed information needs to be verified, and Beijing has urged Seoul to ensure the safety, lawful rights and interests of the detained Chinese fishermen.
In April, a Chinese fishing boat captain who allegedly killed a Seoul coast guard officer during a conflict last December was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Incheon District Court also ordered Cheng Dawei to pay 20 million won ($17,600) in fines.
Beijing rejected the judgment, and said the court's decision was based on Seoul's domestic law regarding exclusive economic zones.
Meanwhile, Seoul on Thursday vowed to resort to protective measures to ensure its agricultural and fishery sectors in the China-ROK bilateral free trade agreement negotiation, which was initiated on Wednesday.
"The close proximity of China, the similar agricultural structure and sizable difference in product prices has raised considerable concerns that an open trade arrangement will hurt local farmers," the ROK Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a press release.
The ministry also said Seoul will work for more provisions to cut or exempt tariffs for agricultural and fishery products, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Xinhua contributed to this story.