Vietnam has accused a Chinese vessel of firing on one of its fishing boats in contested waters in the South China Sea, in the latest flare up in the long-standing maritime dispute.
The Vietnamese boat was fishing near the Paracel Islands last Wednesday when it was set alight after being “chased and shot at” by an unspecified Chinese vessel.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry denounced the incident as a “serious violation” of its territorial sovereignty, reports AFP.
“Vietnam strongly protests, urging China to investigate and seriously deal with the wrongful and inhumane act, and compensate Vietnamese fishermen for their loss,” foreign ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said.
Beijing has yet to comment on the issue.
Vietnam and neighboring China have been locked in an enduring conflict over sovereignty claims on the Spratly and Paracel Islands.
Earlier this month, two Vietnamese fishing boats were reportedly chased out of disputed waters by Chinese marine surveillance ships. Vietnamese officials have also reported increased patrolling by China in recent months.