China’s Internet chatrooms were brimming with anger yesterday after a Chinese fishing boat captain died and another went missing following a collision with a South Korean coast guard ship on Saturday.
Beijing has so far refrained from official comment about the incident, in which a trawler collided with the South Korean vessel and capsized on Saturday in the Yellow Sea, according to South Korean officials and reports.
Most postings seen in Chinese Internet chatrooms blamed South Korea for seeking to provoke China and urged the Beijing government to punish the South, although some Web users called for calm.
Using an obscenity to describe South Koreans, one micro-blogger named Qiu Yang from Hunan Province accused Seoul of “flaunting powerful friends to bully others”.
“We must help the North Koreans to destroy the US-South Korean alliance,” Qiu wrote on popular Web portal sina.com.
Another Web user identified as Cai Xia from the northeast wrote: “The little Japanese didn’t dare to kill any of us in the ship collision near the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台); how can the number two devil be so brash to do such a thing!”
“South Korea, the running dog of America, is seeking to provoke China — what are they thinking,” said another irate Internet user from Anhui Province.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to immediately comment on the incident when contacted by reporters.
Several state newspapers reported on the collision, many citing foreign media reports, and noted that South Korea had expressed regret over the dead and missing.
Four coast guard officers were injured as they tried to arrest the crew of the Chinese boat for illegal fishing in South Korean waters after the fishermen attacked the officers with metal bars, officials and reports said on Sunday.
Three fishermen have been held for questioning, a coastguard spokesman said yesterday.
“South Korea, again it is you bastards and this was not even in your fishing waters. You should mind your own ways. One day you will disappear from Asia,” a Chinese Web user from Sichuan Province said on sina.com.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s coast guard announced a new crackdown on illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea yesterday.
The three-day exercise involves 18 ships, two helicopters and about 200 personnel, a spokesman said.
“We are taking strong steps as illegal fishing by Chinese boats is rampant, despite our persistent crackdowns,” he said.