A Vietnamese fisherman claimed that China Coast Guard vessel 4201 fired a water cannon at him and his crew on Monday, resulting in two fishermen being injured.
The aggressive encounter, occurring in the highly-contested waters of the South China Sea, reportedly resulted in injuries, including a broken arm for the fisherman, according to Newsweek. The incident sheds light on the escalating tensions in the region regarding overlapping territorial claims.
The waters, lying east of Vietnam and south of China, have long been a source of contention between the two nations due to their competing claims to the Paracel Islands.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Pham Thu Hang, expressed the country’s concerns to Reuters, stating, “Vietnam opposes the use of force against Vietnamese fishing boats operating normally at sea.”
Investigations into the fisherman’s claims are currently underway.
Eyewitness accounts and documentation suggest the incident unfolded around 5 a.m. on August 28. As the fishing crew sailed between the Vietnamese coast and the disputed Woody Island (referred to as Phu Lam by Hanoi and Yongxing by Beijing), they reported the approach of the Chinese vessel.
Huynh Van Hoanh, the boat’s owner, recalled the moments leading up to the attack: “Before I could even stand up to observe, the people on the ship number 4201 used a water cannon to spray me, causing me to fly and roll down to the deck. My eyes and nose were dark and I couldn’t see anything. When I stood up, my whole body and hands were injured.”
Subsequent injuries reportedly sent Huynh and his captain to the hospital for treatment.
Recent years have seen an uptick in similar aggressive encounters. Singapore’s The Straits Times, referencing data from the local fishing association, previously reported that since 2014, 98 Vietnamese boats have fallen victim to destruction by Chinese vessels.
China’s assertion over nearly the entire South China Sea is based on its strategic sea routes and rich natural resources.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.