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China Justifies Attack on Vietnamese Fishing Boat

China says it was justified in opening fire on a Vietnamese fishing boat in a disputed area of the South China Sea, after Hanoi accused Beijing of damaging the vessel.

Chinese government spokesman Hong Lei says China took "appropriate and reasonable" action against a Vietnamese vessel operating illegally in Chinese waters.

Hong says the boat was not damaged in the incident.



"The response by the relevant Chinese body against the illegal Vietnamese fishing boat was appropriate and reasonable. The relevant body confirmed that the Vietnamese fishing boat suffered no damage or harm at that time. We hope the Vietnamese side takes earnest steps to improve education for and management of fishermen to stop such illegal activities.''



On Monday, Vietnam said a Chinese vessel fired at the Vietnamese boat near the contested Paracel Islands and set its cabin on fire. Vietnam's Foreign Ministry called the attack "very serious" and said it violated Vietnam's sovereignty.

Vietnam demanded China investigate the incident and compensate the fishermen for the damage to their boat.

The Paracel lslands are controlled by China but claimed by Vietnam.



Vietnam and China each claim large areas of the South China Sea, which is rich in oil and gas reserves. The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the sea.
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