Vietnamese fishermen say they were mistreated by China
Oct 14, 2009, 7:40 GMT
Hanoi - Chinese naval forces mistreated Vietnamese fishermen who tried to take shelter from a typhoon in the disputed Paracel Islands, Vietnamese officials said Wednesday.
Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Fishery Association, said his organization was preparing an official protest to China over the incidents.
Thang confirmed local media reports that Vietnamese fishermen were fired on when they tried to land in the Paracels to escape Typhoon Ketsana in late September, and, after sheltering on the islands for several days, were robbed and beaten by Chinese forces before leaving. He called the actions 'unacceptable.'
Colonel Bui Phu Phu, vice chief of the border guard forces of the fishermen's home province of Quang Ngai, confirmed the accusations, and said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should send a protest to China.
An official at the Chinese embassy in Hanoi said China had no comment on the accusations.
The islands are claimed by Vietnam, China and several other South-East Asian nations.
Thang said Vietnam and China have an agreement that fishermen from each country can ride out storms in the other's territory.
Tensions over sovereignty in the South China Sea have risen since May, when regional countries submitted their territorial claims to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing rejected submissions by Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries as violating its own claims in the area.