SEOUL, Oct. 11 (UPI) — South Korea is expected to take tougher measures against Chinese fishing boats in territorial waters after a 100-ton Chinese vessel sunk a coast guard boat last Friday.
The South Korean patrol vessel was rear-ended by the Chinese boat as coast guards warned the fishermen, The Korea Herald reported.
The coast guard said the collision was “intentional” and the boat in question has been placed on a wanted list.
No casualties were reported.
On Tuesday, Seoul’s foreign ministry called in Qiu Guohong, the top Chinese diplomat in Seoul, to protest the confrontation between Chinese fishermen and South Korean coast guards, according to Yonhap.
The coast guard is also taking more hard-line measures that would allow security agents at sea to use the machine guns and other forms of artillery on the boats.
In the most recent incident, South Korean guards refrained from using the more powerful guns due to existing restrictions and instead fired vertical warning shots from K-1 rifles and K-5 handguns.
Those restrictions may be eased in light of the recent incident.
Changes include permission to shoot the machine guns at illegal boats to keep them from entering South Korean territorial waters, local television network KBS reported on Tuesday.
South Korean boats will also be allowed to chase illegal vessels beyond the boundaries of Seoul’s maritime zone.
China said it is investigating the case but that it also expects South Korea to “deal with the problem rationally with regional peace and bilateral relations in mind,” according to The Herald.
More than 50,000 Chinese fishing vessels have been active in South Korean waters, according to Seoul.