China urges Philippines to "immediately" release fishermen and boat: FM spokeswoman

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-05-08 10:40
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BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday urged the Philippines to "immediately" release detained fishermen and the boat.

China has demanded the Philippines "make rational explanations," said spokeswoman Hua Chunying at the daily press briefing, warning the Philippine side to "take no more provocative action."

Hua said Chinese maritime police boat has arrived at the sea area. Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines have already lodged representations with the Philippine side.

Hua reiterated that China has undisputable sovereign rights over the sea area, including the Half Moon Shoal of Nansha Islands, where the incident occurred.

China always urges Chinese fishermen to conduct fishing activities in accordance with the law, she said, urging relevant countries to properly handle relevant affairs and safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese fishermen.

Earlier media report said that 11 Chinese fishermen aboard fishing boat Qiongqionghai 09063 were seized by the Philippine police at about 10 a.m. in waters off the Half Moon Shoal.

Several armed men forced themselves onto the boat and fired four or five shots in the air. They then took control of the boat, according to the Tanmen fishing association in Qionghai City, Hainan Province.

Another nearby fishing boat, Qiongqionghai 03168, rushed away after seeing the armed boat. It encountered another armed boat later but successfully escaped, according to the association.

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