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Shots fired in sea conflict between China, South Korea

For months, China has been expanding its claims to waters and islands off its shores, leading to conflict with neighbors and even the U.S., which has dispatched warships to the region to defy the rapidly growing military power in Asia.

Now, shots have been fired in another of China’s sea fights.

This time it’s with South Korea, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

It happened just days ago when South Korea’s Coast Guard fired live rounds at Chinese fishing boats that were inside Korean-controlled waters.

An unclassified report from the Office of Naval Intelligence said it was the first time shots had been fired in the dispute.

The Nov. 3 intel report revealed what happened: “During the early evening hours, three coast guard patrol boats fired M60 machine gun rounds at 30 Chinese fishing boats that were threateningly bearing down on them while they towed away two trawlers that had been fishing about 90 km southwest of Socheong Island in Incheon.”

The report said that three hours earlier, the patrol boats “had spotted some 50 Chinese trawlers fishing illegally about 5.5 km inside Korean waters.”

“During that time, several Chinese fishing boats rammed a South Korean Coast Guard boat. Two patrol aircraft were then scrambled and fired a total of 18 flare bombs before the trawlers finally turned back and fled toward Chinese waters.”

Beijing, which has gone to the lengths of building islands for aircraft runways to solidify and defend its claims to territory off its shores, in August warned foreigners to stay away.

“The warning came in a detailed explanation of last month’s Hague ruling, which found that China’s territorial claims in region have ‘no legal basis’ under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea,” CNN reported.

“China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including islands more than 800 miles (1,200 kilometers) from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbors including the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam,” the report said.

The Hague not only ruled that China’s claims were improper but that it was aggravating the “seething regional dispute.”

And it violated the Philippines’ rights by “building up artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and by disrupting fishing and oil exploration, AP reported at the time.

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.