Vietnam has accused the Chinese coastguard of sinking a fishing boat near a disputed island chain, authorities said on Tuesday.
Two Vietnamese boats were chased by a pair of Chinese coastguard ships on Saturday afternoon off Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province, the Vietnam Fisheries Society (Vinafis) said in a statement.
One ship was boarded by Chinese coastguards who forced the crew overboard, Vinafis said, while a second vessel was prevented from reaching the stranded fishermen.
“Chinese men jumped onto fisherman Vo Van Luu’s boat, struck the Vietnamese sailors and… sunk the vessel,” forcing five crew members overboard, the statement said.
The five fishermen remained in the sea until dark, when the second Vietnamese vessel was able to approach the area. Vinafis “condemned” the incident and demanded compensation from China. There was no immediate comment from China.
Vietnam and China frequently trade barbs over the disputed Paracel island chain and waters in the South China Sea. China is encouraging patriotic tourists to visit the contested Paracels. Such acts have deepened already simmering anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam. At least three Chinese people were killed in 2014 when rioting broke out in Vietnam after Beijing sent an oil rig into contested waters. — AFP