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(LEAD) Parties urge gov't to take stronger actions against illegal Chinese boats

All Headlines 16:52 October 10, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS details in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling and opposition parties on Monday urged the government to take stronger actions against illegal Chinese fishing vessels in South Korean waters after a Coast Guard boat was sunk last week during a law enforcement operation.

"Related authorities must trace the vessel that got away after ramming the Coast Guard boat and punish its crew to the fullest extent of the law," Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the party whip, said.

Saenuri said this is also the moment to reconsider existing guidelines that prevent officers from using their weapons against illegal boats and violent crews, adding South Korea should also reconsider its stance of trying to solve the issue through diplomatic efforts.

The ruling party added it will consider building a new Coast Guard office to oversee five front-line islands in the West Sea to ensure the safety of local fishing boats and protect the country's exclusive economic zone.

The Coast Guard said one of its 4.5-ton speedboats that was conducting a crackdown on illegal fishing boats was sunk when a 100-ton Chinese boat intentionally rear-ended it. The ramming occurred around 3 p.m. on Friday in waters 76 kilometers southwest of Socheong Island in Incheon, west of Seoul. No one was hurt in the incident with one officer that escaped the sinking being rescued afterwards.

"The violent activities conducted by Chinese fishing boats on the West Sea are no longer tolerable," said Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the floor leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, adding that boats that break the law should be defined as pirates.

Woo added that violent actions perpetrated by illegal fishing boats should be met with force, adding the government should consider deploying the military to handle certain situations.

The minor People's Party also said the government must demand the Chinese authorities hand over the people and the boat involved in the case and respond sternly to the matter.

(LEAD) Parties urge gov't to take stronger actions against illegal Chinese boats - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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