WASHINGTON — Tensions are building up between North Korea and its longtime benefactor, China. The Associated Press reported that this latest incident is not viewed favorably by the Chinese government.
Recently, a Chinese fishing boat was hijacked by gunmen wearing North Korean military uniforms. They demanded a ransom of about $100,000, kept the hostages for two weeks and stole the boat’s fuel. They ended up leaving the hostages without further harm, except for beating up the captain, and without a ransom.
North Korea is in troubled waters with China over its belligerence in testing rocket and nuclear weapons in face of a U.N. ban. Though this encounter is attributed to rogue border guards and not the government, this still creates tension between China and the North Korean government based in Pyongyang.
North Korea is also holding a naturalized U.S. citizen, Ken Bae, in prison.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called for an investigation of the hostage situation
“We demand North Korea investigate this case fully and furnish China with details, and take measures to stop such cases repeating themselves”.
The fishing boat operated outside of North Korean territorial waters, but was within shared economic zone waters where fishermen from both countries can fish.