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Chinese fishermen to return home

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)

08:07, July 31, 2012

Beijing reaches maritime deals with Moscow

Chinese fishermen detained by Russia earlier this month will be returning home soon, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

The diplomatic departments of the two countries are closely cooperating with each other to arrange for the detained Chinese fishermen to return home as soon as possible, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a news release.

The two countries also pledged to discuss Russia granting China some fishing quotas in exchange for compensation.

Experts said the incident will not have a negative effect on China-Russia ties.

Sun Chuanjiang, a consul with the Chinese Consulate-General in Khabarovsk, Russia, told China Daily that the Chinese fishing boats will be sent back after all necessary procedures are finished, but he refused to give a specific date.

Two Chinese fishing boats were detained on July 15 and 16 by Russia for entering its economic zones. On July 25, two more Chinese fishing boats were seized by Russia for the same reason. All four were sent to Russia's Nakhodka port.

China and Russia have remained close communication since the incidents, and Chinese consulate officials who visited the sailors in Nakhodka confirmed that all of the crewmembers were in good condition.

Hong said China and Russia agreed to establish a security cooperation mechanism on maritime law enforcement as soon as possible, to prevent illegal fishing.

With the agreements, China and Russia will regulate fishing operations in neighboring waters, said Sun Zhuangzhi, an expert with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The incidents are isolated cases in the economic sector, and will not affect the sound China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership, Sun said.

Maritime resources are important for both countries, and cooperation in this field will bring benefits to both, he added.

The incidents brought challenges to the bilateral ties, but China and Russia have managed to solve the problem thoroughly before it triggered negative results, said Feng Yujun, an expert on Russian Studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

The agreements provide a good foundation for the two countries to solve similar problems that may arise, Feng added.

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