Officials in Hanoi have accused a Chinese boat of ramming and sinking a Vietnamese fishing vessel. It comes amid tensions over an oil rig Beijing has deployed in disputed South China Sea waters.
Vietnam's coastguard commander said 10 Vietnamese fishermen were rescued from the water after the incident, which occurred 17 nautical miles from the China rig.
"A Vietnamese boat from the central city of Da Nang was deliberately encircled by 40 fishing vessels from China before it was attacked by a Chinese ship," Nguyen Quang Dam said.
The rig (pictured above) was deployed in early May between the Paracel islands, which are controlled by China but claimed by Vietnam. The move resulted in a clash between Vietnamese boats and Chinese ships sent to protect the rig.
Beijing and Hanoi had maintained close relations until the most recent trouble, successfully keeping a lid on the tensions over disputed maritime areas. China has maritime disputes with several of its neighbors around the South China Sea, including Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said last week that Hanoi was , including legal action.
There has been no comment from Beijing on this latest incident.
jr/lw (AP, Reuters, AFP)