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China hopes to work with S. Korea on dealing with illegal fishing

All News 00:02 June 11, 2016

BEIJING, June 10 (Yonhap) -- China said Friday that it wants to work with Seoul on dealing with illegal Chinese fishing boats operating in South Korean waters.

"China puts great importance on educating its fisherman," China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a response to questions raised by Yonhap News Agency. He added that Beijing respects international treaties on fishing and local laws of countries where its fishermen operate.

Earlier in the day, South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) sent military police to crack down on Chinese boats catching fish in neutral waters around the mouth of the Han River between the two Koreas.

It marked the first joint action taken by South Korea and the United States-led UNC in the military buffer zone to drive out illegal Chinese fishing boats as the militarily sensitive region saw a sharp increase in unauthorized Chinese fishing since last year.

Hong further said that the Chinese government has been engaged in "control measures" against (illegal fishing) with provincial governments that are responsible for regulating fishermen.

The official then said that Beijing hopes South Korea would take civilized and rational measures in dealing with Chinese fishermen. It added that safety-related accidents should be avoided and the civil rights of its fishermen respected.

Illegal fishing by Chinese ships has become a source of diplomatic tension between the two neighboring countries in recent years. In 2011, a South Korean coast guard officer was killed by Chinese fishermen during a mishap in South Korean waters.

Because of its proximity to China large number of Chinese fishing boats operate in South Korean waters. Government data showed that some 29,600 Chinese fishing boats operated in South Korea's exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea in the second half of 2014, up more than 16 percent from some 25,400 in the same period in 2013.

khj@yna.co.kr
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