Palace: Vietnamese caught fishing in PH exclusive economic zone

Palace: Vietnamese caught fishing in PH exclusive economic zone”

A Philippine patrol ship pursued six Vietnamese fishing boats 30 nautical miles off the northern coastal town of Bolinao, a regional military spokesman told AFP.

The Philippine government on Monday vowed a "fair and thorough" probe into the killing of two Vietnamese fishermen off Pangasinan in South China Sea, even as it noted that the foreigners encroached on the country's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano informed his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh, of the encounter during a meeting at the United Nations in NY on Sunday, assuring him of a "fair and thorough investigation", the Associated Press reported.

That "prompted personnel on board the navy vessel to fire warning shots and when the navy personnel boarded the fishing vessel, they found two dead Vietnamese fishermen", the department said, adding five other Vietnamese fishermen surrendered and were taken into custody.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano assured Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh that the five Vietnamese fishermen taken into custody will be accorded proper treatment.

Manila's response to the illegal fishing activities by the Vietnamese nationals and its description of the incident appear to be in stark contrast with how it handles issues involving Chinese fishermen, who are usually backed by Beijing, in the disputed South China.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said the Philippine National Police, the Navy, and Department of Foreign Affairs are now conducting investigation into the incident.

Foreign fishermen have often been caught trespassing in Philippine seas. "While it was chasing the boats, one boat manoeuvred and hit our vessel", said Covarrubias. The use of lights for that goal is prohibited under Philippine law.

The Embassy will continue to urge the Philippines to conduct thorough investigation into the case and early inform Vietnam on the official outcomes, as well as to mete out due punishment on any detected wrongdoings on the side of the Philippine force.

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