China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Remarks on Indonesian Navy Vessels Harassing and Shooting Chinese Fishing Boats and Fishermen
Q: It is reported that on June 18, the Indonesian navy spokesperson said that Indonesian navy vessels detained one Chinese fishing boat illegally fishing in waters off the Natuna Islands and arrested seven Chinese fishermen on board, and warning shots were fired by the Indonesian vessels. Can you confirm this?
A: While operating normally in China’s traditional fishing grounds in the southwest of the South China Sea on June 17, Chinese fishing boats were harassed and shot by several Indonesian navy vessels. One Chinese fishing boat was damaged and one crew member shot injured, while another fishing boat and the seven people on board were detained by the Indonesian side.
After learning about this, the Chinese side immediately deployed coast guard vessels operating nearby to the site to protect Chinese fishing boats and fishermen and rescue and treat the injured. China also lodged strong protest against and solemn representations with the Indonesian side through diplomatic channels. On the morning of June 18, the injured fisherman was sent to a hospital in Hainan for further treatment. He is now in a good condition.
This incident took place in waters that are Chinese fishermen’s traditional fishing grounds and where China and Indonesia have overlapping claims for maritime rights and interests. The Indonesian vessels that harassed and shot Chinese fishing boats with a willful resort to force put the life and property of Chinese fishermen in danger and violated international laws including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
China strongly protests and condemns the abuse of force. China urges the Indonesian side to stop taking actions that complicate, exaggerate the dispute and undermine peace and stability, and handle the fishery issue at sea in a constructive way.”