|Vietnam slams Chinese vessel over fishing boat row
Vietnam on Tuesday accused a Chinese ship of ramming and sinking one of its fishing boats, fanning territorial tensions over Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters.
The incident, which China's rival Japan described as "extremely dangerous'', comes during an ongoing tense confrontation between the communist neighbors in the South China Sea that has triggered international alarm.
Vietnam summoned a representative of Beijing's embassy to formally protest the incident, which it said followed recent cases of damage to its fishing boats and assault of its fishermen by Chinese forces.
The crew of the sunken vessel, who were rescued by other Vietnamese ships after the Monday afternoon incident, said their boat was encircled by 40 Chinese vessels before being rammed, the official Vietnam News Agency reported.
"Once again, Vietnam demands China to end inhumane acts that seriously infringed on the life, properties and legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen,'' Hanoi's foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement.
The 10 fishermen on board were all safe, according to a second Vietnamese official, who said the sinking occurred about 12 nautical miles southwest of the oil rig.
Beijing blamed the Vietnamese vessel, saying it had "forcefully intruded'' into the area of the oil rig and capsized after colliding with a Chinese fishing boat.
"I want to stress that the direct cause of this incident is that the Vietnamese side insisted on disturbing the normal work of the Chinese side,'' said Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
"Some countries fantasise that (China) will sit idly by while its interests and sovereignty are damaged,'' he added.
Qin said the rig had moved to a new location, but Vietnamese state media said it was still within what Hanoi considered its territory. --AFP