Wednesday, 12 August 2009

China Releases Vietnamese Fishermen Seized Near Paracel Islands

By Beth Thomas

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- China freed Vietnamese fishermen detained near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea after Vietnam requested their release.

Chinese authorities yesterday informed Vietnam’s embassy in Beijing that they had released all the fishermen, who were detained aboard three fishing boats, Le Dung, a spokesman for Vietnam’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, said in a statement.

The seamen are expected to arrive home in the next few days, he added.

Thirteen Vietnamese fishermen from the central coastal provinces of Quang Ngai and Khanh Hoa were arrested near the Paracel Islands on Aug. 1 while seeking shelter to avoid a storm, the Quang Ngai government said Aug. 4. Twelve other men working on two boats from Quang Ngai were detained earlier, Hanoi-based Dung said in the statement.

The Vietnamese authorities are working with China to solve “outstanding problems,” Dung said in the statement.

The Paracel and Spratly Islands are claimed in whole or part by Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

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