Vietnam’s government said it has protested an incident in which a Chinese ship fired on a Vietnamese fishing vessel last week in the area known as the Paracel Islands.
The incident took place on March 20 in the Hoang Sa area, and resulted in a cabin fire on the Vietnamese vessel, which came from the central province of Quang Ngai, according to a statement from Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi dated yesterday and posted on the website of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nghi called the incident “very serious.” The area that Vietnam refers to Hoang Sa is also known as the Paracel Islands.
Vietnam’s government said it “resolutely protested” the incident and lodged a complaint with representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi. It asked the Chinese government to investigate and compensate the Vietnamese fishermen involved for their losses. Bloomberg’s calls to the Chinese foreign ministry’s news department seeking comment weren’t immediately answered today.
The Paracel Islands, which are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, are surrounded by productive fishing grounds and potential oil and gas reserves, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Chinese naval ships in May, 2011 reportedly fired four shots into the water near Vietnamese fishing vessels and prevented their activities in the Spratly Islands area, according to Tien Phong newspaper in June that year, citing a report by border guards in the coastal province of Phu Yen.
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