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What does China want?

Posted December. 23, 2010 10:40,   


To put it bluntly, Chinese fishing vessels are acting like pirates. South Korean patrol ships attempted to crack down on more than 50 Chinese fishing boats for illegally fishing in a South Korean exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea Saturday. The Chinese crew protested by wielding iron pipes and sticks. Four South Korean maritime police officers performing their duty suffered injuries such as arm fractures. A Chinese fishing vessel that escaped into waters in the provisional zone between South Korea and China sank after ramming into a South Korean patrol ship. In the accident, a Chinese fisherman drowned and another went missing. This is tragic but South Korea has the right to crack down on illegal fishing and is not responsible for the casualties.

On Tuesday, three days after the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu urged South Korea to pay compensation for the human and property losses and hold those responsible for the incident. Beijing distorted the mishap by saying, “Causing human casualties by ramming into a fishing vessel is not allowed.” On the site of the incident, China claimed, “According to a fishing agreement between South Korea and China, fishing vessels of both countries cannot enter waters where the incident happened.” Jiang said a number of preposterous things while saying nothing about Chinese fishing boats violating South Korean waters. The crewmen of the capsized ship confessed that the ship rammed into a South Korean patrol ship after escaping to the provisional zone, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. So Beijing has no grounds for criticizing Seoul.

The patrol ship entered the provisional zone to catch the Chinese vessel in accordance with international law. China should prevent its fishing boats from entering South Korea’s exclusive economic zone. This year alone, 363 Chinese fishing vessels have been caught illegally fishing. Chinese crewmen have frequently wielded deadly weapons and have even killed a South Korean maritime police officer and injured 33 over the past five years. Beijing’s defense of such illegal acts can make their crewmen grow more violent.

The Chinese spokeswoman also made an embarrassing comment that North Korea has the right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. She presented the 2005 inter-Korean joint statement at the six-party talks as the basis, but the statement mentioned the peaceful use of nuclear energy on the condition that Pyongyang renounces nuclear weapons and returns to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. China seems unaware that the North is ignoring the joint statement by conducting two nuclear tests and making public its uranium enrichment facilities. If Beijing wants to keep its reputation in diplomacy, it should refrain from distorting facts and making farfetched claims.