SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea on Wednesday asked China to step up efforts to crack down on its fishing boats illegally operating in Korean waters, the foreign ministry said.
The request was made in an annual consular meeting in Seoul led by Lee Jae-wan, director-general at the ministry’s overseas Koreans and consular affairs bureau, and his Chinese counterpart Guo Shaochun.
During the meeting, South Korea recognized that illegal Chinese operations in waters off its western coast have recently decreased and asked for China’s continued cooperation.
China’s side said that it takes the issue very seriously and that its central and local governments are making relevant efforts, the ministry said.
Illegal fishing by Chinese boats in waters near the inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea has been a source of diplomatic tension between the two neighbors. Tensions flared in October 2016 when a South Korean patrol boat sank after being intentionally rammed while pursuing a Chinese boat that was fishing illegally.
As a result of increased joint efforts by the two governments, the daily number of Chinese fishing boats found to operate in waters near the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea from April to June dropped by 75 percent from a year earlier, according to government data. The three-month period is considered a peak season for crab catches.