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China expresses ‘regret’

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the death of a South Korean coast guard officer fatally stabbed by the captain of a Chinese fishing boat when he tried to arrest him for illegal fishing in Korean waters.

“The Chinese side regrets that the relevant incident caused the death of an ROK (Republic of Korea) coast guard officer, which is an unfortunate event,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in Beijing.

Liu added that Chinese and South Korean officials are in close communication to address the situation.

He said China hopes that Beijing and Seoul can resolve the issue in an appropriate manner.

It was the first time the Chinese government officially expressed regret since the killing of the Korean coast guard officer on Monday morning.

A day earlier, Liu called on Korea to “fully protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese fishermen and provide them with due humanitarian treatment,” prompting public anger in Seoul and souring Korean-Chinese relations.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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