The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday made no apology for the killing of a Korean coast guard officer by the skipper of a Chinese trawler who was caught fishing illegally in Korean waters. The ministry and the state-run Chinese media indirectly admitted the trawler was fishing illegally but refrained from comment on the crime.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said, "We're watching media reports on this case carefully and are aware of the situation. We are willing to work with Korea closely on this matter."
He claimed the Chinese government "took steps to better educate fishermen to prevent cross-border fishing and irregularities." But instead of apologizing for the crime, he expressed hope "that Korea will fully protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese fishermen and provide them with due humanitarian treatment."
On Oct. 24, when the South Korean coast guard seized three Chinese fishing boats after a pitched battle with sailors armed with iron bars and sticks, another Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Beijing asked Seoul to enforce its laws "in a civilized manner."
On Monday morning Lee Cheong-ho (41) and Lee Nak-hoon (33), two officers of the Incheon Coast Guard, were stabbed in the ribs and abdomen by the skipper of a 66-ton Chinese trawler while they were seizing the boat that was fishing in waters 87 km southwest of Socheong Island, Incheon. Lee Cheong-ho died and Lee Nak-hoon was wounded.
The Global Times, the official English-language daily, on Monday also admitted Chinese were fishing illegally in Korean waters but blamed the "tragic reality" that there is not much fish stock left in the Chinese seas.