Foreign Ministry says ROK protest over sinking has 'no legal basis'

Updated: 2016-10-12 18:55

By Mo Jingxi(

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The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the Republic of Korea's protest concerning the sinking of a coastguard boat on Friday was not tenable, as its law enforcement activities in that particular maritime area "had no legal basis" under a fishery agreement between the two countries.

The ROK said on Tuesday it would use greater force, including deploying firearms, against Chinese boats fishing in its waters and summoned China's ambassador to protest against a clash between a Chinese vessel and a coastguard boat, Reuters reported. ROK's Ministry of Public Safety and Security, which oversees the coast guard, said one of its patrol boats sank last week during an operation to crack down on a group of Chinese vessels fishing off the Korean peninsula's west coast, according to the report. But China did not confirm the sinking.

"According to the geographical coordinates provided by the ROK, ... we've verified that the location is part of the waters where the fishery agreement has stipulated that current fishery activities would be maintained," Geng Shuang, the ministry spokesman told a regular media conference on Wednesday.

But he didn't provide more details of the incident.

China lodged serious representations to related ROK authorities through diplomatic channels, he said, asking the ROK to deal with the incident in a calm and rational manner.

"We hope the ROK could carry out their law enforcement duties in a civilized way, and earnestly guarantee the safety and legal rights of Chinese fishermen," Geng said.

The spokesman also noted that while disputes may arise,"the key is that both sides should behave in accordance with the fishery agreement and the consensus that has been reached".

Violent clashes have occurred in recent years between the ROK's coastguard and Chinese fishing boats.

Late last month, three Chinese fishermen died from smoke inhalation after a fire erupted when ROK coastguard officers threw "flashbang" grenades into their vessel.