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Shots fired as Russia detains Chinese fishing ships

By Kevin Voigt, CNN
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Wed July 18, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Russian coast guard seized two Chinese vessels and detained 36 fishermen Tuesday
  • Shots were fired at one vessel, which was eventually rammed by a Russian ship
  • Local media reports claim the ships were illegally fishing in Russian territorial water

(CNN) -- The Russian coast guard seized two Chinese vessels and detained 36 fishermen Tuesday after they were allegedly found fishing in Russian-controlled waters in the Sea of Japan, according to state media

Warning shots were fired at one vessel during a three-hour pursuit by Russian Coast Guard, which eventually rammed the vessel and soldiers fired directly on the ship when sailors resisted being boarded, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

No one was killed or injured in the incident, according to RIA.

The ship had 22.5 metric tons of squid and a crew of 17 RIA reported, and didn't have documents allowing them to fish in Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone. A second Chinese fishing vessel, with 19 crew members, was also detained in nearby waters.

An Exclusive Economic Zone is an area within 200 nautical miles of a nation's shores which gives the country sole rights to fish and develop resources in the area.

China's Xinhua reports that the ships were from the city of Weihai in China's eastern Shandong province.

An editorial in China's People's Daily condemned the firing on the vessel, calling the move "reckless."

"In 1983, the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 civilian airliner. Now Russia, for at least the second time, has fired on a Chinese civilian ship. Such conduct will stay in the memory of people in Northeast Asia," the editorial said. "The aggressive behavior by some Russians at the grass-roots level not only harms Chinese confidence in fostering a long-term friendship with Russia, but also provides excuses for forces seeking to undermine China-Russia ties."

In 2009, a Russian boat sank a Chinese vessel suspected of smuggling, killing seven people, People's Daily reports.

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