S. Korea defends sinking Chinese boat

Dec. 22, 2010 at 7:57 AM
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SEOUL, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- South Korea was justified in sinking a Chinese fishing boat because it was defending its own waters, an official said Wednesday.

The boat capsized and sank Saturday about 70 miles off South Korea's west coast after slamming into a Korean patrol vessel, South Korea says. At the time, the Coast Guard was trying to board another Chinese fishing boat that had fled the South's exclusive economic zone despite an order to stop.

One Chinese fisherman died and another is missing. Beijing is demanding that Seoul punish those responsible and pay compensation.

A Foreign Ministry official told Yonhap News Agency Wednesday a video and other evidence show the Chinese boat hit the Coast Guard vessel, apparently deliberately, before sinking.

South Korea will let China view the evidence and seeks to resolve the matter cooperatively, the official said.

The official said the South had the right under maritime law to stop and inspect the fishing boat in neutral waters because it ignored an order to stop in the economic zone.

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