BEIJING (AP) — China's Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the Indonesian navy opened fire at a Chinese fishing boat in the South China Sea, injuring a fisherman and detaining its seven-man crew.
The statement posted on the ministry's website was in response to reports that Indonesia's navy said that it had intercepted and detained a Chinese vessel and its seven crew members for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.
The incident happened Saturday off the Natuna islands, off the northwest coast of Borneo, in the South China Sea. The waters in question are claimed by China, but Indonesia considers them part of its exclusive economic zone, which would give it the right to resources including fish.
China's Foreign Ministry said the Chinese fishing boat was carrying out normal fishing operations in its traditional fishing grounds when the Indonesian navy shot at it, harming one fisherman and damaging the boat. It said the injured crew member had already been transferred to China's southern Hainan Island for treatment and was in stable condition.
It said it had strongly protested the actions by the Indonesian navy, which had "abused its military force."
It is at least the third such incident since March, when Indonesia intercepted a Chinese fishing vessel off the Natuna islands. In May, an Indonesian frigate fired shots at a Chinese trawler when it refused to stop fishing, and then seized the vessel and its eight crew members.
China's claims to virtually the entire South China Sea overlap with those of several other Asian countries and the waters have emerged as a possible regional flashpoint.