China issues complaint over fisherman’s death

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China issues complaint over fisherman’s death


The Chinese government summoned the Korean ambassador to Beijing to lodge a complaint about the death of a Chinese fisherman, who was fatally shot last week by a Coast Guard officer during a crackdown on illegal fishing in Korean waters.

“We have submitted a serious complaint to the Korean side through various channels,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a briefing yesterday.

On Friday, a Chinese skipper surnamed Song, 45, was shot in the abdomen while fighting off a raid by 10 Coast Guard officers in waters 144 kilometers (89 miles) west of Wangdeung Island in Buan County, North Jeolla.

Hong also expressed Beijing’s concern over the Korean Coast Guard’s issuance of arrest warrants to three other fisherman involved in the scuffle on Friday.

He said Beijing recommended that Korea “improve its law enforcement methods and bolster communication with China.”

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Korean Ambassador Kwon Young-se to Beijing for an emergency meeting on Friday, on the night of the incident, to convey concern and demand those responsible for the death of the captain be punished.

Liu Jianchao, China’s assistant foreign minister, also requested that Seoul implement measures to prevent similar incidents.

This is the first time a Chinese national has died from a shot fired by a South Korean naval officer in a raid, and the man’s death has since raised concerns over the diplomatic repercussions.

Song succumbed to internal injuries at the hospital. At least five Coast Guard members were injured during the struggle with the fishermen.

All 19 Chinese fishermen from the ship were detained by the Mokpo Coast Guard.

On Sunday, the Mokpo Coast Guard issued arrest warrants for three Chinese fishermen for using violence against its officials.

An additional arrest warrant was issued yesterday for a 45-year-old Chinese national surnamed Wu, the chief engineer of the vessel, for wielding violence, Korean officials said, and the remaining 15 could face similar charges.

According to Korean Coast Guard statistics, between 2011 and July 2014, more than 1,500 Chinese vessels were caught fishing illegally in Korean waters, with fines totaling 772 million won ($722,522), of which 180 million won have not yet been paid.


BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]


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