China to South Korea: Release our fishermen ASAP, serve justice

“This incident happened during a fair law-enforcement process by our Coast Guard officers against illegal fishing by the Chinese fishing boat. We will handle this matter according to the law and principle,” a senior official from Foreign Ministry of South Korea said as reported by a Korean news provider.

In an operation carried out by South Korean Coast Guard last October 10, a Chinese fishing-boat skipper was shot dead while 19 Chinese fishermen were detained.

South Korean Coast Guard boarded the Chinese boat while fishing within South Korea’s exclusive economic zone. According to Coast Guard, the shot fisherman was choking and kicking an officer making the shot inevitable.

Warrant of arrest was issued to three fishermen for obstructing Coast Guard operatives to perform duties and assault, while the remaining sixteen may also face same charges if result of current investigation suggests. Report says Chinese fishermen used beer bottles and knives to fight back.

However, Chinese government sided with its fishermen. China requested South Korea “to immediately carry out an earnest and thorough investigation into the case, bring those accountable to justice, inform the Chinese side of the findings and measures taken to handle the case.”

“Release the Chinese fishing boat and fishermen as soon as possible, and properly deal with follow-up matters,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said.

“We hope that the ROK side will take concrete steps to improve its way of law enforcement, enhance communication with the Chinese side and resolve fishing disputes in a just and proper manner.”