S Korea & China could tackle illegal fishing
It is an idea worth positive consideration for the South Korean and Chinese navies to cooperate in preventing Chinese vessels from illegally fishing in South Korean waters near the disputed western sea border with North Korea.
During his four-day trip to China that ended Friday, Adm. Choi Yun-hee, South Korea&’s chief of naval operations, proposed the idea to his Chinese counterpart as part of efforts to curb clashes between Chinese fishermen and South Korean coast guards. China was known to be reluctant to go so far as collaborate with the South Korean Navy in clamping down on illegal operations by its fishing boats.
It seems necessary and desirable that the navies of the two countries set up a cooperative system to prohibit violent clashes from recurring in the process of controlling Chinese fishing vessels. Public outrage erupted here in 2011 over the killing of a South Korean coast guard officer by a Chinese skipper during a fight for control of a trawler illegally fishing in South Korean waters. On the contrary, a Chinese fisherman&’s death prompted protest from Beijing last year.
There still exists the possibility of such fatal incidents taking place again, as more than 20,000 Chinese fishing boats violate South Korean maritime boundaries annually. The repeat of violent clashes causing casualties would exacerbate public sentiment on both sides, as shown in previous cases. It might hamper efforts to implement pledges made by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at their summit last month to deepen ties between the two countries.
South Korea&’s maritime affairs minister recently said Beijing had agreed on the need to strengthen crackdowns on illegal fishing by Chinese boats in waters shared with South Korea in the West Sea.
The Korea Herald