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Indonesia told to release 75 Chinese fishermen

[ 2009-06-26 14:10]     字号 [] [] []  
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China yesterday called on Indonesia to release 75 captured Chinese fishermen and free their impounded vessels "as soon as possible", just six days ahead of a scheduled visit from Indonesia's foreign minister.

Beijing made the demand after Jakarta seized eight vessels that originated from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Saturday.

The vessels were all in a "traditional fishing area" in the waters around China's Nansha Islands, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

"China is gravely concerned about this incident," Qin said, while expressing "strong dissatisfaction".

According to the Chinese embassy in Jakarta, the fishermen were seized by the Pontianak Fishery and Ocean Resources Monitoring Agency.

At press time, they were still in detention and the embassy was seeking talks with Indonesian authorities.

"The embassy is on the way to meet the Chinese fishermen in Pontianak in the West Kalimantan," the embassy's press officer told China Daily.

The Jakarta Post on Tuesday quoted the head of the Pontianak Fishery and Ocean Resources Monitoring Agency, Bambang Nugroho, as saying his office was responsible for stopping the eight vessels and their crew of 77. A source from the fishery administration bureau under China's Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the actual number of people captured was 75 - all from Guangxi.

It was "the biggest case in recent years", the source said, noting that Indonesia captured four Chinese fishermen in March 2008 and freed them one year later.

Antara, Jakarta's state news agency, said the Chinese were fishing in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone, near Natuna.

Wang Hanling, an expert in maritime affairs and international law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the fishermen were within a traditional Chinese fishing area.

"Indonesia's unilateral exercising of administration over the disputed waters is illegal and invalid as it violates international law," Wang said.

"It is unreasonable and unacceptable that Indonesia arrested Chinese fishermen within the maritime area historically under China's administration," he said.

According to Wang, the arrest signaled Indonesia's intention to dispute sovereignty of some waters in the South China Sea.

"The ultimate solution to disputes always rests with talks and friendly consultation," Wang said.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, is set to begin a two-day visit to China next Wednesday.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Indonesia told to release 75 Chinese fishermen

Indonesia told to release 75 Chinese fishermenBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.