After a period of relative calm on the South China Sea, Vietnam has accused a Chinese vessel of firing a flare at a Vietnamese fishing boat.
It happened last Wednesday near the Paracel Islands. It's an area of the South China Sea that's under dispute between China and several other Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.
Last year, the Chinese regime incorporated the islands and large parts of the South China Sea under its administrative rule. It says the presence of fishing boats from other country is illegal.
The Vietnamese government said on Monday that an unidentified Chinese vessel chased the fishing boat, and fired a flare that burnt down the cabin. A complaint has been lodged with the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi.
The Chinese regime today admitted a patrol boat took action against the Vietnamese fishing trawler, but denied damaging the boat. Foreign Ministry's spokesman Hong Lei told Vietnam to tell its fishermen to stay away from the waters.
Vietnam says China violated maritime law, and wants those involved to be investigated.
The disputed area is rich in natural gas. China, Vietnam as well as countries including the all lay claims to the waters.
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