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World

China says its flares didn't hit Vietnamese boats

The Philippine Star

BEIJING (AP) — China says its navy fired flares at Vietnamese fishing boats but denies that country's claim a vessel was damaged in the incident that highlights tensions over disputed South China Sea islands.

The Defense Ministry said sailors on a Chinese ship fired two flares at four Vietnamese boats that failed to respond to whistles, shouts and signal flags. It said the ships were fishing illegally in Chinese waters off the Paracel Islands on March 20 and both flares burned out in the air.

The ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that Chinese forces did not fire weapons and no Vietnamese boats caught fire.

Vietnam, which also claims the Paracels, said one boat's cabin caught fire. It complained to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and sought compensation for the alleged damage.

BOATS

CAUGHT

CHINESE

CHINESE EMBASSY

DEFENSE MINISTRY

FIRE

FLARES

PARACEL ISLANDS

PARACELS

SOUTH CHINA SEA

VIETNAMESE

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