Tensions Rise over Death of Chinese Fisherman
A Chinese fisherman died Tuesday after being hit by a rubber bullet fired by a Korean Coast Guard officer after his vessel entered Korean waters.
The shooting happened in the West Sea … about 90 kilometers off of Hong Island in Shinan County, South Jeolla Province.
The Korean Coast Guard said its officers fired the bullets during a raid on the Chinese boat, when the fishermen fought back with knives and other sharp materials.
The fisherman who was hit was rushed to a hospital by helicopter, but died three hours after the incident … at around six PM Korea time.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade immediately informed the Chinese Embassy in Seoul about the incident and expressed its regret.
It also said it is conducting an investigation into the incident and all related policies.
In response, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement conveying its "strong dissatisfaction" over the fisherman's death and calling for a "serious and thorough" investigation.
The Chinese government has yet to issue an official response.
Chinese fishing boats sailing illegally in the waters off of Korea's southwestern coast have long been a source of diplomatic friction between the two countries.
There have been a total of eleven similar cases between Chinese fishermen and the Korean Coast Guard since 2007, with most of the deaths and injuries incurred by Coast Guard officers.
This was the first time that such a conflict has led to a death of a Chinese fisherman, and there are concerns that the incident may increase tensions between the two countries.
The two countries met in June in Beijing to discuss possible solutions to the problem of illegal fishing.
Despite these efforts, the Korean Coast Guard has said that there have been an average of two to three-thousand Chinese vessels operating illegally every day in the West Sea in the past two months.
Yoo Li-an, Arirang News.
Reporter : Lian.email@example.com