12/12/2011, 00.00
CHINA-KOREA
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Chinese fishermen kill a Korean coast guard. Tension between Seoul and Beijing

The Chinese fishing boat illegally entered South Korean waters. The ship’s captain repeatedly stabbed the officer leading the boarding party with a shard of glass. Seoul officially protests and convokes the Chinese ambassador.
Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An officer of the South Korean coast guard was killed and another wounded by Chinese sailors apprehended illegally fishing in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Incheon. The incident has caused a diplomatic incident between Seoul and Beijing. The South Korean foreign minister summoned the Chinese ambassador to deliver a formal complaint, and an official of the office of the Presidency said on condition of anonymity that they are studying measures to prevent such incidents happening again.

Officer Lee, 41, was head of the Korean boarding party that climbed aboard the 66 ton Chinese fishing vessel, about 85 km from Incheon at 7 am (local time ). The officer stopped the ship's captain (pictured at the time of arrest) near the helm, while the other members of the coastguard were trying to overcome the resistance of the other crew members. The Chinese captain broke a pane of glass, and struck the officer several times in succession with a shard. Meanwhile, another member of the boarding party, 33, again whose surname is only known, also Lee, too, was injured in the scuffle.

Both were taken to hospital by helicopter, but for the first there was nothing to be done. It is not the first time that Chinese fishermen have killed members of the security forces in Korea.The last episode of this kind dates back to 2008, when Chinese fishermen illegally entered Korean waters killed an officer off Mokpo, 410 km south-west of Seoul. Illegal fishing by Chinese in the Korean waters is common. This year, the Korean Coast Guard seized 475 boats, against 370 in 2010. Neither are episodes of violence uncommon.

In October, the Coast Guard used rubber bullets and tear gas to overcome the resistance of Chinese fishermen armed with shovels and sticks. In December 2010, a Chinese boat capsized in the Yellow Sea after having rammed a Korean coast guard vessel, and two Chinese were killed and three were arrested, but released after Beijing protested.

 
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