(Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi has accused Chinese sailors of attacking a Vietnamese trawler and its fishermen in disputed waters around the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea.

According to The Straits Times, China said that its forces boarded the vessel and confiscated property, but did not attack the vessel and the fishermen onboard.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying had warned Vietnam to adhere to China’s unilaterally imposed fishing bans.

“We urge the Vietnamese side to use effective measures to strengthen the education and management of their fishermen, and stop illegal fishing activities in the waters around the islands,” Hua said.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh had demanded compensation from China for the damages made to its trawler.

“Vietnam requests China to investigate and strictly handle the acts by Chinese authorities, to not repeat the acts, and to compensate Vietnamese fishermen fairly,” Le said, adding that China’s actions have breached Vietnam’s sovereignty.

This incident is the latest in a string of maritime conflicts between the neighbours.

Earlier this year, China deployed an oil rig to waters claimed by Vietnam, triggering a series of riots and bloody fights between workers from both sides.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have all laid claims over the South China Sea, which serves US$5 trillion (S$6.31 trillion) worth of global trade flow each year, and is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

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