Quantcast

Thursday, July 24, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Vietnam accuses China of sinking fishing boat

By Chris Brummitt

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:27 a.m. HST, May 27, 2014


HANOI, Vietnam >> Vietnam and China traded accusations Tuesday over who was the aggressor in a clash that led to the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea, sharpening tensions already dangerously high after China moved an oil rig into the disputed waters.

Hanoi accused a Chinese vessel of ramming the wooden Vietnamese boat Monday then fleeing the scene. Beijing said the Vietnamese boat was trying to get close to the oil rig, rammed into one of its vessels, and then sank. The crew was rescued.

The clash occurred around 18 miles south-southwest of the large oil rig that China deployed on May 1 in waters both nations claim.

The rig deployment infuriated Hanoi and set off violent anti-China protests that further soured ties between the neighboring communist countries with close economic relations. Vietnam sent patrol ships to confront the rig, and China has deployed scores of vessels to protect it. The two sides have been involved in a tense standoff, occasionally colliding with each other.

China and Vietnam have long sparred over who owns what in the oil- and gas-rich waters. Incidents between fishing crews are quite common, but Monday's incident was the first time a Vietnamese boat had been sunk, said Tran Van Linh, president of the Fisheries Association in the central port city of Danang.

"I call this an act of attempted murder because the Chinese sank a Vietnamese fishing boat and then ran away," Linh said. "We vehemently protest this perverse, brutal and inhumane action by Chinese side."

Linh said about 40 Chinese steel vessels surrounded a group of smaller, wooden Vietnamese fishing ships on Monday afternoon. He said one then rammed into the Vietnamese ship, tossing 10 fishermen into the water and sinking the boat. The fishermen were picked by the other Vietnamese boats and there were no injuries.

In Beijing, the government said that a Vietnamese fishing boat had forced its way into the area around the oil rig and rammed into a Chinese fishing boat. "I think the fact that this incident happened at all shows that Vietnam's illegitimate and illegal harassment and sabotage against China's regular operations are futile and will only hurt their own interests," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

Since May 1, Vietnam has accused China of ramming into or firing water cannons at Vietnamese vessels trying to get close to the rig, damaging several boats and injuring fisheries surveillance officers. They have shown video footage of some of the incidents. China accuses Vietnam of doing the same.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea as its own, bringing it into conflict with far smaller neighbors like Vietnam and the Philippines. In recent years it has been more assertive in pressing its claims in the waters and resisting attempts to negotiate.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday his country was watching developments in the Vietnam-China standoff. "We're trying to learn the right lessons and our armed forces and coast guard and other concerned agencies are looking at the possible scenarios and what should be our appropriate response," he said.

He spoke from a western Philippine naval base he said had been equipped with surveillance and better communications to better guard against territorial intrusions.

The United States, which shares the concerns of the smaller claimant states about China's rising military might, called China's deployment of the rig "provocative." Vietnam is trying to rally regional and international support against Beijing, but its options are limited because China is the country's largest trading partner.

___

Associated Press writers Louise Watt in Beijing and Jim Gomez in Manila contributed to this report.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(3)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
BIG wrote:
sad
on May 27,2014 | 07:12AM
glenn57377 wrote:
It's time for a Pacific version of NATO. With all the navies and air forces combined in the Pacific region a pretty effective force could be formulated to see eye-to-eye with the Chinese. Problem with the Pacific countries is they would rather be ineffectively alone rather than join forces due to distrust or anger from the past. It's a shame. Collectively, they could meet face to face with any beligerant.......alone, they are 100% ineffective.
on May 27,2014 | 08:20AM
all_fed_up wrote:
The world needs to stop funding China. (Don't buy anything made in China)
on May 27,2014 | 09:05AM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News