Chinese vessel seizes Viet fishermen’s catch

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HANOI—A Chinese vessel confiscated hundreds of kilograms of catch from Vietnamese fishermen, an official said on Friday, at a time of high maritime tension with Beijing.

The alleged seizure is one of numerous similar incidents reported by Vietnamese fishermen working in disputed South China Sea waters in recent years.

But it comes as relations between Vietnam and fellow communist China are at their lowest point in years after recent sea confrontations, which reignited a row over the sovereignty of the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos.

The island groups straddle strategic shipping lanes.

“We were told the Chinese took away their 500 kilograms of fish and some fishing equipment,” an official on Vietnam’s Ly Son island, where the boat is based, told Agence France-Presse. The cost of the loss was estimated at around 55 million dong ($2,600).

Thanh Nien newspaper said the seizure occurred on Tuesday morning near the Paracels. It said the Chinese vessel was armed but it did not specify the type of craft. Past incidents generally involved maritime enforcement ships. AFP

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