Vietnam Lodges China Protest Over Claims of Attack on Fishermen

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s government said a Chinese boat crew beat Vietnamese fishermen near a disputed island chain, the third reported clash between the neighboring countries in contested waters this year.

Vietnam, in a letter protesting the July 7 incident to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, requested an investigation and compensation for the fishermen, who also lost personal property, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said in a statement yesterday. The Chinese vessel chased two Vietnamese fishing boats near the Paracel Islands, he said, without specifying the number of fishermen involved.

The incident adds to tensions between the two countries as they vie for oil, gas and fish in the South China Sea. Vietnam in March said Chinese mariners fired on a fishing vessel, and two months later demanded compensation after a Chinese ship rammed another Vietnamese fishing boat.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

China has controlled the Paracel Islands since a battle with Vietnam in 1974.

— With assistance by John Boudreau

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