Tougher Measures: Illegal Chinese Fishermen15 December 2011
SOUTH KOREA - South Korean lawmakers called Thursday for strong measures against illegal Chinese fishermen and sturdier safeguards for Coast Guard officers cracking down on them amid public uproar over the death of an officer killed in a violent clash with Chinese fishermen.
The officer was fatally stabbed and another was seriously injured on Monday while they clashed with Chinese sailors poaching in South Korea's exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea. The incident set off anger among Koreans, with some staging protests in front of the Chinese Embassy.
On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs held a meeting with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and the Korea Coast Guard chief to discuss ways to handle provocative Chinese boats and demand appropriate action from Beijing.
"People are shocked and saddened by the incident," Grand National Party legislator Yoo Ki-june said at the meeting. "We have to receive an apology from the Chinese government as well as promises in preventing its recurrence."
The meeting began after offering condolences to the deceased officer.
Minister Kim said he felt "heavy responsibility."
Rep. Lee Hoi-chang of the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party (LFP) went as far to claim the maritime police should immediately shell Chinese boats found illegally fishing in South Korean waters if they defy Coast Guard orders.
Moh Kang-in, chief of the Korea Coast Guard, said he is consulting with related agencies to increase the number of patrol ships to prepare for possible clashes and raise hazard pay for the officers working under tough conditions.
The lawmakers vowed to adopt a resolution urging Beijing to crack down on illegal fishing and calling on Seoul to impose tougher punishment on offenders, according to participants.
It was the second time a South Korean Coast Guard officer has been killed in violent clashes with Chinese fishermen, while many others have sustained injuries.
TheFishSite News Desk