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China Seeks Compensation From South Korea in Trawler Collision

China says it is seeking financial compensation from South Korea over a collision between a coast guard vessel and a Chinese fishing boat within South Korea's special economic zone.

Beijing made similar demands over a collision between a Chinese trawler and a Japanese coast guard vessel in September. That incident escalated into a major crisis between the two countries.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday that China has made solemn representations to Seoul, urging it to "severely punish perpetrators, compensate losses to life and property on the Chinese side" and take measures to prevent future such incidents.

South Korean officials say the Chinese fishing boat captain deliberately rammed the much larger coast guard boat on Saturday, causing his own trawler to capsize. The captain died later of injuries sustained in the collision.

Eight other crewmen were rescued, five of them by other Chinese fishing boats. Three were rescued by the South Korean coast guard crew and are in custody.

South Korea says the trawler was one of about 50 Chinese boats that were found illegally fishing in South Korea's economic zone. Officials say the trawler's crewmen attacked coast guard personnel with iron pipes, clubs and shovels, injuring four, when coast guards tried to board the boat.

But Chinese spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the coast guard officers had no right to board the boat, no matter where it was, because of a bilateral fishery agreement.

Jiang also said the incident had "no direct relationship" to tensions between North and South Korea caused by the North's shelling of a South Korean island.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.