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S. Korea Accuses Chinese Fishing Boat Captain of Killing Coast Guard Officer

An unidentified Chinese captain is taken by South Korean police officers to Incheon Coast Guard office after his arrest in Incheon, South Korea, December 12, 2011.

South Korean authorities say one of their coast guard officers has been killed at sea by the captain of a Chinese fishing boat.

South Korea summoned China's ambassador to Seoul, just hours after accusing a Chinese boat captain of killing a South Korean coast guard officer.

The chief investigator for the coast guard station at Incheon, Ang Sung-shik, says the Chinese vessel was halted Monday morning in the Yellow Sea for fishing illegally in South Korea's exclusive economic zone, but outside its territorial waters.

Ahn says, after strong resistance, eight members of the Chinese boat were apprehended. But, he says, the captain of the boat, who was in the steering house, stabbed with an undetermined weapon two of the four coast guard officers who had boarded the vessel.

Authorities say the 41-year-old corporal died of severe organ damage at a hospital in Incheon.

The Chinese vessel has been seized and its crew of nine is now in South Korean custody.

In Beijing, China's foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, says authorities will cooperate with Seoul in investigating the incident.

He says China has taken measures to educate Chinese fishermen about signed fishing agreements with South Korea and strengthened oversight of outbound fishing fleets to stop cross-border fishing.

He also called on the South Korean government to protect the rights of Chinese fishermen and treat them humanely.

This is the first such fatal encounter between South Korean authorities and a Chinese crew at sea since 2008. In the previous incident, a fight with Chinese fishermen in South Korean waters resulted in South Korean coast guard officer being killed and six others injured.

South Korea's coast guard says incursions by Chinese ships have been growing. It says it has cited 470 Chinese ships this year for illegal fishing, compared to 370 last year.

South Korea announced last month it would begin cracking down on Chinese boats in its exclusive economic zone.

Observers say Chinese fishing fleets have spread father from their own coasts to try to meet a growing demand at home for seafood.

The area where Monday's encounter took place is known for its blue crabs, croakers and anchovies.