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Seoul, Beijing Begin Talks to Deter Illegal Chinese Fishing

Sustainability Politics +2 more

SOUTH KOREA and CHINA - Korean and Chinese officials held talks in Beijing for the first time under a new joint consultative body aimed at deepening their efforts to tackle illegal Chinese fishing in Korean waters, Seoul officials said.

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The consultative body was set up early this month after China accepted Korea's proposal to form the standing committee involving foreign ministry officials and maritime police from the two nations, officials said.

YonhapNewsAgency reports that Korea made the proposal following the December killing of a South Korean Coast Guard officer by a Chinese skipper during a raid on a Chinese boat.

"The first meeting of the Korea-China Fisheries Cooperation Committee is under way in Beijing today," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae.

The talks would include discussions regarding "constructive measures" to effectively prevent illegal Chinese fishing, Cho said, adding his ministry would announce details of the Tuesday talks later in the day.

On Monday, a senior ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told reporters that South Korea and China agreed to hold the committee meeting on a regular basis.

"Korea and China have also agreed to set up a hotline among relevant ministries between the two nations for a better communication when incidents take place while cracking down on illegal Chinese fishing in Korean waters," the ministry official said.

Chinese fishing boats have been recurrently caught poaching in Korean waters in the Yellow Sea, often leading to violence by the Chinese fishermen during raids by the South Korean Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard captured or sent back more than 470 Chinese fishing ships in 2011, which had illegally crossed into South Korean waters in search of anchovies, blue crabs and croakers that are abundant in local waters.