Vietnam says China sank boat
BEIJING – Vietnam accused a Chinese fishing boat of ramming and sinking a Vietnamese vessel not far from where the two countries have clashed over a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea.
Xinhua, China’s official news agency, said the Vietnamese vessel capsized “after harassing and colliding with a Chinese fishing boat in the South China Sea.”
The sinking marks a serious escalation in the conflict between the two countries, which earlier this month triggered deadly anti-China riots in Vietnam.
The incident occurred about 17 nautical miles southwest from where the Chinese have been installing an oil rig, according to Tuoi Tre News. According to the report, some 40 Chinese fishing boats had surrounded several Vietnamese vessels, when one of the Chinese boats rammed and sank a Vietnamese boat with 10 crew aboard.
Quoting the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, Tuoi Tre reported that all crew members were rescued by other Vietnamese boats in the area. All of the Vietnamese boats were from the central city of Da Nang.
According to Voice of America’s Vietnamese service, Vietnam has reported that China wounded four of its fisheries surveillance officers by firing water cannons at them.