S Korea sends boats to repel Chinese fishermen

2016-06-10 15:41
In this photo provided by the South Korean Defence Ministry, South Korean marines and navy soldiers on a boat conduct a crackdown against China's illegal fishing. (AP)

In this photo provided by the South Korean Defence Ministry, South Korean marines and navy soldiers on a boat conduct a crackdown against China's illegal fishing. (AP)

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Seoul - South Korea sent military vessels to repel Chinese fishing boats that were illegally harvesting prized blue crabs near the disputed sea boundary between the Koreas before the fishermen retreated on Friday, South Korean officials said.

Four naval and marine boats entered neutral waters around South Korea's Ganghwa island to chase away about 10 Chinese boats, which by afternoon had escaped into North Korea-controlled waters, said a defence ministry official.

The operation was approved by the United Nations Command that governs the zone where fishing activity is prohibited.

Depending on weather and water conditions, the operation will resume on Saturday and continue until the Chinese boats withdraw further, the official said. The South Korean military and maritime police personnel who carried out the mission were accompanied by translators and two monitors from United Nations Command.

General Vincent Brooks, the US commander of the United Nations Command, said in a statement on the decision to authorize the operation: "United Nations Command takes its responsibility to maintain the armistice very seriously. We had a responsibility to act and we are doing that."

The governments of China and North Korea were notified before the operation started and the Chinese boats were warned in English and Chinese.

Days earlier, South Korean fishermen towed away two Chinese fishing boats catching crabs south of the sea boundary and handed them over to local South Korean authorities. North Korea said after that incident that South Korean fishing and naval vessels had invaded their territory.
Read more on:    un  |  south korea  |  north korea

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