In an unexpected international incident this week, Argentina is finding itself under attack from China’s Foreign Ministry after the Argentine coast guard sank a Chinese fishing vessel off the country’s coast.
In a statement, the Argentine government said that the Lu Yan Yuan 010 was spotted illegally fishing in an exclusive economic zone off Puerto Madryn, an area known for its squid, earlier this week.
The statement says that the Argentine coast guard first fired a series of warning shots over the Chinese vessel. The ship responded by turning off its lights and deliberately trying to capsize.
“On distinct occasions, the offending boat realized maneuvers aimed at colliding with the coast guard, putting not only its own crew at risk, but also the personnel of the coast guard,” the statement said.
Responding to this threat, the coast guard then opened fire into the Chinese ship’s hull.
According to China’s Foreign Ministry, there were more than 30 crew members on board the Chinese ship at the time of the incident. Four were rescued by the Argentine coast guard, while the remaining 28 were rescued by nearby Chinese vessels.
China also said that the sinking took place on Monday morning after the Chinese vessel had been “chased for hours” by the coast guard.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed serious concern over the sinking and called for an investigation.
This marks the first serious test in Chinese relations for new Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who took office in December along with his center-right government. The previous leftist leader of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez, tightened relations with China through more economic deals.
According to Reuters, last year, the non-profit group Stop Illegal Fishing said that China had the world’s largest distant water fishing fleet. Still, this is quite unusual, more often it is the Chinese boat doing the sinking.
Video of the operation has also been uploaded onto YouTube. Watch below: