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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Do not let disputes taint Sino-Korean ties

By Gao Lei  (Global Times)

10:18, December 15, 2011

The incident that saw a Chinese fisherman stab a South Korean coast guard to death has now become a bone for both countries to pick.

Chinese nationals and companies have been increasingly involved in international disputes and conflicts in recent years due to the country's opening-up. China is still trying to fit in the world and this trend is likely to continue.

With 1.3 billion people starting to join the global stage, interactions between Chinese and the world will become more complex.

The healthy relationship between China and South Korea has brought enormous benefits to both countries. South Korea, in particular, has been a major beneficiary of China's opening-up. But these are negative consequences as the fishing disputes.

Many industries have been rapidly advancing in the East Asia region, along with the sense of national identity. This is similar to Europe in the 19th century. Pride and anxiety are mounting in the region. Disputes can easily become heated in this atmosphere.

But war is unlikely to break out. Although Europe has been the battle ground of two bloody world wars, it is because powers on that continent were roughly even.

China is a strong neighbor with dominant strength, which largely prevents conflicts from becoming serious clashes.

More tolerance should be a default manner for China to deal with those "disagreements," yet it is easier said than done. Nationalism is common in the region and often causes trouble.

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Leave your comment6 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2011-12-16210.177.156.*
What China should do is set up some new rules and educate it to their fisherman. In any waters that are not undisputedly Chinese, they are not to cause trouble. If they are asked to leave, as long as it is somewhere in waters that are claimed by other nations, leave and protest later. If in doubt, leave. If clearly in high seas, either maintain course and speed or steer home, and call for help, but don"t take provocative action. If in clearly Chinese waters, maintain course and call for help.If they don"t cause trouble and they get arrested, China will protect their interests. If they get arrested in a place that China considers it has a claim to, China will risk anything up to and including its international reputation to get you back (we saw the temper tantrum last year in the Senkaku/Diaoyu collision incident). But all this is if you don"t cause trouble. If during the whole process you cause any trouble - a collision, assault on law enforcement officials ... etc, well, China (according to its official policy) believes that even if it is a territorial dispute, it should be solved by negotiation, but by vigilantism, hooliganism or terrorism. So if you cause trouble, China will say "We regret the incident" and allow the other side to "cook" you as it sees fit. Even if there is a dispute of facts, well China wants other nations to believe China"s police, so the reverse courtesy should be given.In short, let the State defend you, don"t make trouble for the State. Basic rules for civilized nations. Maybe individual defense had its place in the 1950s when China has no Navy and no power, and it was a less civilized age all around back then, but not now.They let the fisherman know that these are the new rules and stick to them, illegal fishing might not go down but at least such incidents will.
Joon at 2011-12-16202.131.169.*
Objectivity is a good thing. However, this article is not objective, nor were your comment and mine. If there was one single boat that was fishing illegally in South Korea"s EEZ, and it just so happened that the captain of this vessel killed the Korean coast guard officer, it would still cause a lot of noise in Korea, but a statement of regret such as China has issued should have sufficed and we should all be moving on. However, this is NOT the case. You are ignoring the fact that there exists a horde of desperate Chinese fishermen who are routinely entering South Korea"s EEZ to conduct illegal fishing, and that they have no respect for Korean legal authority. These fishermen ram their boats into South Korean coast guard vessels, resist inspection and arrest with dangerous and/or lethal weapons, and at one point even connected all of their boats together to prevent arrest of any single vessel--this is not random, it is organized. You are ignoring the fact that this is not a handful of Chinese fishermen, nor even a hundred fishermen -- there are constantly hundreds of Chinese ships fishing illegally in South Korea"s EEZ. When a problem is as serious and rampant as this is, it cannot be considered just a random criminal act by one single Chinese national, it is a problem with the Chinese government"s policy and the collective Chinese people"s mindset. Those of you who write articles or comment here are well educated people, but nonetheless you are seeing only what you want to see, and are turning a blind eye to the obvious problems at hand. At some point South Korea and China must move on, but there also needs to be real action on the part of the Chinese government to regulate their illegal fishermen, a show of real effort to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Without such action on the part of the Chinese government, Chinese fishermen will continue doing what they have done for years, and inevitably the South Korean coast guard will start protecting themselves with lethal force, which I"m sure the Chinese government and its citizens will not simply ignore and quickly move on from. Long story short, China needs to do more to fix this problem than tiny lip service.
CK Wong at 2011-12-15124.13.94.*
Condolences to the Korean soldier at the front line sea patrol, yes, a tragedy had happened, so the case gives us many after thought and contemplation as to why it should happened. On one hand, a soldier patrolling on duty, one another hand a fisherman trying to scratch from the rough sea to feed his family in the much disputed water, a grey area to be exact. But if we choose to politicise the case, no one will gain, life have to go on and what is next is still no solution accept bringing the killer to trial.
hialeahtom at 2011-12-1568.159.226.*
Typical! And you blame Japanese for all the past wrong doings. I guess the worst is yet to come.
Nayang Chinese at 2011-12-1560.53.89.*
If one will to look closely at the article, the main thrust of the article is not so much about this one particular case. But an attempt to calm the already difficult and complex situation. The true meaning is "lets move forward " and not let this unfortunate incident to cloud the overall good relationship of the two countries. An apology at this point in time is not apporiate as not all facts have been taken into consideration. If the evidence proved that the ship"s captain is in the wrong than by all means subject him to due legal process in S.Korea. China cannot and must not apologise for any wrong doing of her citizen unless that person represent the Chinese government. The other question is;"Was the captain of the ship provoked to such act by the S.Korean custom personnel like beating?". Unless all these doubts are cleared can we really see the true picture. Meanwhile, all must look at this unfortunate incident from an objective angle.

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