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S. Korea, China Discuss Illegal Fishing Problem

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SOUTH KOREA - South Korea and China have agreed to step up joint efforts to counter illegal fishing in Korean waters, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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Seoul and Beijing have held working-level consultations on fisheries cooperation twice a year.

The two sides had an 8th round of talks in Qingdao that day, YonhapNewsAgency reports.

In particular, South Korea raised the issue of illegal fishing by Chinese fishing boats close to the Northern Limit Line, a de-facto inter-Korean maritime border, which is feared to cause an armed clash between the two Koreas.

A number of Chinese fishermen are also arrested every year for illegally fishing in South Korea's western and southern waters, often leading to violent clashes with the South Korean coast guard.

In response, China said it takes the illegal fishing problem seriously, the ministry said in a statement.

"China said it would make more active efforts to deal with the matter. The two sides also agreed to constantly intensify a joint crackdown," it said.

At the meeting, South Korea was represented by Chung Byung-won, deputy director-general for Northeast Asian affairs at the ministry, and his counterpart was Zhai Leiming, deputy director-general at the department of consular affairs of China's foreign ministry.

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