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China stresses fishery vessel on "routine mission" in South China Sea

2009-03-17 10:50:06 GMT2009-03-17 18:50:06 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Yuzheng 311, China's largest fishery administration vessel, is pictured as it arrives in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, March 17, 2009. [Xinhua]

BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday denied it was "flexing military might" by sending a fishery administration vessel to the South China Sea, saying the ship was on a "routine mission" in Chinese territorial waters.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands of the South China Sea and their adjacent waters," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing.

His comments came after he was asked to respond to accusations of China "flexing military might" by sending vessel to the South China Sea.

"The vessel was heading there for a routine fishery administration mission," said Qin.

The vessel, China Yuzheng 311, would be mainly used to patrol waters of China's exclusive economic zones including the Nansha, Xisha and Zhongsha islands, said Wu Zhuang, director of Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision for South China Sea.

"The Chinese government has all along attached great importance to the fishery administration of the South China Sea," said Qin.

The vessel arrived in the Xisha Islands around Tuesday noon after a week-long voyage from its home port in Guangzhou.

The vessel is operated by the Agriculture Ministry's South China Sea Fishery Administration Bureau and is the largest of its kind with a maximum displacement of 4,450 tonnes.

Yongxing Island, South China Sea, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China's largest fishery administration vessel arrived in the Xisha Islands around noon, officials on the islands said on Tuesday.

The vessel, China Yuzheng 311, has anchored in Yongxing island, a major one of the islands, and will patrol the South China Sea. It had made a week-long voyage from its home port in Guangzhou. Full story

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