Three Chinese fishing boats, which had been freed by the North Korea, anchor at a port of Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, May 21, 2012. A total of 29 Chinese fishermen and their three fishing boats returned to Dalian on Monday morning, following 13 days of detention by the NK. Photo: Xinhua
North Korea's foreign ministry notified the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang Sunday that all recently detained Chinese fishermen and their vessels had been freed. China's diplomatic authorities made a quick response in the last two days, which is a worthy accomplishment.
But China should look into itself and solve loopholes. This is the premise on which the maritime security of Chinese fishermen can be improved.
The fishing boats and their crews were detained by North Korea on May 8, but it took several days for rescue work to be carried out. This exposes at least two problems. The first is that the law enforcement authorities at sea are unable to protect fishermen while North Korea just turned a blind eye to them. The second problem is that the emergency mechanism for protecting fishermen is flawed. It fails to act when any emergency occurs.
However, China's emergency mechanism quickly goes into action when frictions involving South Korea or the South China Sea and anti-pirate campaigns in Africa take place. The public feels that once any conflicts involving North Korea occur, authorities will not take tough measures.
The case should be a turning point for China in its handling of border disputes between China and North Korea.
China and North Korea have a solid geographic basis for their friendship. Both attach strategic importance to this friendship.
We can firmly say that North Korea attaches equal importance to it as China does. This is the basis for China to deal with concrete frictions with North Korea with a resolute attitude.
In other words, China will not allow any misbehavior by North Korea. There is no special room between China and North Korea. North Korea should respect China's every concrete interest, especially the lives and property of Chinese citizens.
Currently there are rumors about misbehavior from North Koreans in the border areas between the two countries. China does not seem to be taking a tough attitude toward them. Both should take effective measures to eliminate such rumors.
We are worried that North Korea only released the hostages under pressure. China's interests may still be damaged when it is not supervised enough by Chinese officials and media.
Media supervision can be an effective tool for preventing similar incidents. For example, more details should be disclosed regarding who was really behind the abduction and the conditions of the release. Even considering the necessary secrecy concerning diplomatic negotiations, we think the authorities have the responsibility to disclose the related information.
Maritime disputes are on the rise between China and other countries. Chinese fishermen need to be fully aware of the policies. It also requests that China's maritime enforcement agencies upgrade their supervision and protection of Chinese fishermen. This may require more investment, but it is necessary. We wish to see the China-North Korean friendship strengthened. This tie should not only be displayed at a national strategic level, but can also be felt in daily life.
NK frees all Chinese crew
Analysts urged the Chinese government to continue working with Pyongyang to investigate the recent abduction of Chinese fishermen, after North Korea said Sunday that it had released all the 29 Chinese crewmen and their three boats.