Vietnam demands unconditional release of fishermen held by China
Chinese authorities who illegally seized nine Vietnamese fishermen from Vietnamese waters last month are demanding a ransom for their return despite Vietnamís demands for their unconditional release, the Vietnamese foreign ministry said.
According to a statement posted Wednesday (October) 6 on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, the men were detained on September 11 while they were fishing off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.
The ministry has demanded several times that China release the fishermen and theirs boat unconditionally. The demands were made through diplomatic channels at different levels in Hanoi and Beijing, the statement said.
On September 21, the MoFA Consular Agency sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, demanding the release of the fishermen and their boat.
The agency stressed that the detention of the Vietnamese fishermen while they were fishing in Vietnamese waters seriously violated Vietnamís sovereignty and jurisdiction.
In response, the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on Tuesday said the fishermen had explosives with them meant for catching fish, and that concerned agencies had fined the captain and informed his family in Vietnam.
The MoFA reiterated its rejection of Chinaís ďunreasonableĒ decision and reaffirmed that the boat was fishing off Vietnamese waters.
The first time was in January 2009 when he lost his boat and equipment - valued at around VND700 million ($35,925).
The second time occurred in April of this year when he lost all equipment valued at VND100 million. His boat and 10 fishermen were later released.
Truong Ngoc Nhi, vice chairman of the Quang Ngai Peopleís Committee, said that a total of 63 Vietnamese fishing boats and 725 fishermen had been detained by China since 2005.
Most of them have faced many difficulties after being released because their ships and equipment had been confiscated, he said.
Meanwhile, the Quang Ngai Fisheries Association has reported that many Chinese fishing boats have encroached on Vietnamese waters.
The central Fisheries Association has suggested the government, the MoFA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development take due action against such transgressions.http://www.nytimes.com