By Bennett Murray
Vietnam has officially protested to Indonesia over a fatal clash in the South China Sea that left a fisherman dead.
The Vietnam News Agency reported Friday that the foreign ministry was demanding Indonesia provide answers about the Oct. 21 dispute in regionally disputed waters.
“Vietnam requests competent Indonesian agencies to promptly clarify the incident, seriously punish violators, and satisfactorily compensate the Vietnamese fishermen,” said spokesman Le Hai Binh.
The incident involved two Vietnamese fishing boats that were reportedly chased and fired upon by Indonesian security forces.
Vietnam maintains it took place in an overlapping stretch of territorial water currently being delineated by both countries.
The clash follows a year of heightened tensions in the South China Sea. China’s claim to most of the sea overlaps with maritime claims from Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
The Spratly and Paracel Islands, which are claimed by all sides, lie at the center of the dispute.
While Indonesia doesn’t assert any claims to the dispute islands, Chinese officials have previously implied that Indonesian waters near the Natuna Islands, which lie at the southernmost tip of the South China Sea, are within the vaguely defined “nine dash line” upon which China bases its maritime claims
Jakarta has doubled down on its claims in its northernmost waters by seizing foreign vessels caught fishing illegally.
In April, 23 confiscated fishing boats from Vietnam and Malaysia were blown up.