China dispatches helicopter to rescue Vietnamese fisherman in Paracels

By Trong Giap   August 20, 2016 | 07:16 am GMT+7
China dispatches helicopter to rescue Vietnamese fisherman in Paracels
Illustrative photo by VnExpress/Tri Tin

Just last week, however, China refused to allow six Vietnamese fishing boats to anchor near a reef in the archipelago.

Chinese authorities have sent a helicopter to pick up an injured Vietnamese fisherman from a fishing boat operating in the Paracel Islands for medical treatment on their Hainan Island, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday, quoting information from the country’s National Committee for Search and Rescue and Vietnam’s Embassy in Beijing.

On August 16, fisherman Pham Van Thang, 28, was seriously wounded by the boat’s screw while fishing in the waters in the South China Sea (which Vietnam calls the East Sea). The captain of the boat sent an urgent request to Vietnamese authorities to rescue Thang.

The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) contacted China Search and Rescue Center for help. The Vietnamese center also told the fishing boat to move toward the closest location, the Woody Island in the Paracel Archipelago, which is under Chinese control.

As the injured fisherman lost a lot of blood and became weaker, the Chinese center sent a helicopter in the afternoon of August 17 to pick up Thang, following MRCC’s request.

Earlier this month, China had refused to allow six Vietnamese fishing boats to anchor near a reef in the Paracels while they were trying to find shelter from extreme weather.

The six fishing boats from Vietnam’s central province of Quang Nam with 259 crew on board had encountered rough seas and big waves on the morning of August 12 in waters 40 nautical miles from the Paracels, and had asked to take refuge in Bombay Reef, which is under Chinese control.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the Chinese side to ask for the boats to anchor in Bombay Reef but the Chinese authorities turned down the request, claiming that Bombay Reef was an unsuitable place for the boats to anchor.

In 1974, taking advantage of the withdrawal of the American troops from the Vietnam War, China invaded the Paracel Islands. A brief but bloody naval battle with the forces of the then U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam ensued.

Vietnam's behemoth northern neighbor has illegally occupied the islands ever since. But a post-1975 united Vietnam has never relinquished its ownership of the Paracel Islands.

Related news:

>  China denies Vietnamese fishing boats shelter on Paracel Islands

 
 
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