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Chinese President Xi's fishermen visit seen as warning to South China Sea neighbours by Minnie Chan April 10,2013   |  Source: SCMP

President Xi Jinping made an unprecedented visit to fishermen who spend most of their working lives in disputed waters in the South China Sea in what analysts said was a move aimed at sending a strong message to China's neighbours.

Xi's visit to Tanmen, a fishing village in the city of Qionghai in Hainan, on Monday came a few days after the People's Liberation Army Navy's South Sea Fleet finished a 16-day drill and patrol mission in the South China Sea.

The PLA Daily published an interview yesterday with fleet commander Rear Admiral Jiang Weilie who said naval training on the high seas would become routine for the navy.

The visit was given wide coverage by state media outlets, including Xinhua, with Xi quoted as asking fishermen whether they felt safe going out into the South China Sea.

"I am very impressed [after hearing your stories]. You guys have done a good job!" Xinhua quoted Xi as saying when he boarded the Qiong-Qionghai 09045. The 30-metre deep-sea fishing boat was stopped by Palau police a year ago in an illegal fishing confrontation and one fisherman was shot dead. "The [Communist] party and our government will make more efforts to take care of you guys … and I wish you all the best when you go fishing - have good harvests and catch more big fish," said

 

© 2013 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.

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