YouTube footage of Chinese trawler colliding with Japanese war ships threatens to reignite row between Asian giants.
A Chinese fisherman has died after their fishing boat has capsized as it clashed with a South Korean coast guard vessel during a routine inspection to curb illegal fishing activities.
The scuffle in the Yellow Sea on Saturday left two other men from the Chinese trawler missing, the coast guard said.
Part of the footage of the scuffle was released by the South Koreans.
A coast guard spokesman said there were about 50 Chinese fishing boats in the country’s western waters off Gunsan city, about 270 kilometres south of Seoul.
One of the boats, said the spokesman, intentionally hit the larger coast guard vessel to allow the other Chinese trawlers to sail back to their waters, but later sank.
Rescue boats and helicopters were dispatched to the area to search for two missing Chinese fishermen, the coast guard said in a statement.
It added that coast guard officers fought with fishermen on the other Chinese boats who wielded steel pipes, shovels and clubs, leaving four officers injured.
A senior South Korean foreign ministry official, in a phone call to the Chinese consul-general in Seoul , expressed regret over the death of the Chinese fisherman, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.
According to South Korea’s coast guard, more than 300 Chinese fishing boats are captured for fishing illegally in the country’s waters every year.
In September, a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese coast guard vessels resulted in a diplomatic spat over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and soured what had been improving relations between China and Japan.
In 2008, one South Korean coast guard officer was killed and six others injured in a maritime scuffle with Chinese fishermen fishing in South Korean waters.