Vietnam demands China release fishing boats

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Vietnam has asked China to release two fishing boats that its forces confiscated from local fishermen when they were fishing along Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago over the last few months.

At a press conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said the ministry had sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese embassy in Hanoi that day after being informed that 14 fishermen in the central province of Quang Ngai were detained by China on two boats on May 16.

They were released on May 21 on one boat, but the other boat and their catch and equipment are still being held by Chinese fishing management forces, according to a notice China sent on May 21.

China's detainment of the Vietnamese fishing boats when they were operating legally in Vietnamese waters around Hoang Sa was a "serious violation of Vietnam's sovereignty," Nghi quoted the diplomatic note as saying.

Vietnam demanded China free the boat and the fishermen's properties, as well as stop such acts in the future, he said.

According to Nghi, the ministry's note also asked China to release another boat it confiscated from Vietnamese fishermen when they were fishing in Hoang Sa waters on March 4.

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