Hanoi (dpa) – A Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat amid escalating territorial tensions in the South China Sea, Vietnamese officials said Thursday.
Five Chinese crewmen boarded the fishing boat near the disputed Paracel Islands and threatened the six fishermen with knives on September 29, the Vietnam Fisheries Association said.
“The Chinese action is inhumane, violating Vietnam’s territory and international laws,” Nguyen Ngoc Duc, a spokesman for the Vietnam Fisheries Association, told dpa.
“We have asked China to pay compensation.”
The Chinese crew seized equipment and a nearly two-ton catch before the damaged boat started to sink, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. Its crew were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat.
Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including the Paracels east of Danang and the Spratly Islands to the south between Vietnam and the Philippines.
Chinese construction in the Spratlys, including runways and lighthouses, have been criticized by several nations.
Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have competing claims with China over the important sea route.