The South Korean Coast Guard was forced to fire over 200 rounds during a confrontation with dozens of Chinese vessels fishing illegally in South Korean waters on Tuesday.
Coast Guard officials said the vessels were caught in South Korean exclusive economic zone waters off the country’s west coast.
Overall 44 Chinese fishing vessels ignored broadcast warnings forcing the Korean Coast Guard to fire over 200 rounds from the M-60 machine gun and assault rifles and shotguns.
Coast Guard officials said they have no information on whether the Chinese boats suffered damages during the confrontation.
Responding to a question about the incident during a press conference on December 20, Chinese foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the Chinese side was “highly concerned about [the incident].”
“The Chinese side has always attached great importance to foreign fishery administration and taken active and effective measures to safeguard the fishery production order in relevant waters,” Hua said. “We hope that the ROK side can properly settle relevant issues, refrain from taking extreme measures that will endanger people’s safety in the course of law enforcement, effectively protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese fishermen, and enhance communication with the Chinese side to jointly uphold the fishery production order in relevant waters.”
Chinese fishing vessels have caused incidents in the region on a number of occasions in the past. In 2016, Chinese fishing vessels were shot at by South Korean and Indonesian authorities while the Argentine Navy sank a Chinese fishing vessel in Argentine waters in March 2016.