Beijing said that it expects Argentina to perform according to law in reference to the recent sinking of a Chinese flagged jigger by the country's Coast Guard and which was operating in Argentina's EEZ. The announcement is considered significant in Buenos Aires since Argentine president Mauricio Macri is expecting to meet his counterpart Xi Jinping in Washington, next Friday in the framework of the Nuclear security summit.
With respect to the maritime crisis between China and Argentina, we are hopeful Argentina will address and perform the issue according to law ensuring the rights and interests of Chinese fishermen, as well as their security said Hong Lei, spokesperson for China's foreign ministry.
However Hong did not confirm whether Xi Jinping would bring up the issue when he allegedly is scheduled to meet with Macri on April first in Washington. The Chinese delegation in Washington will inform the media at the right time, added spokesperson Hong.
Nevertheless Hong underlined that China and Argentina are friendly countries. In recent years, the two countries have expanded their mutually-beneficial cooperation. Relevant cooperative programs are mutually beneficial, open, transparent, and in compliance with law and regulation, which acted as an active role for promoting Argentina's economic and social development.
China is willing to work together with Argentina, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and win-win principle, to carry out cooperation on major projects, further expand communication and cooperation in a larger area, and promote further development of China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership, Hong added.
Under the previous government of president Cristina Fernandez, Beijing and Argentina agreed on a strategic partnership which included financial, trade, monetary, political and scientific cooperation. China's central bank swaps were decisive for Argentina's international reserves, and so was the commitment estimated in 15bn dollars, to build two hydroelectric dams in Santa Cruz province and a nuclear power plant.
Macri's administration said that it wants to review the whole of the agreements signed with China, particularly the small print, to which the Argentine congress did not have access.
As to the sinking of Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010, the incident took place last 15 March when the jigger was caught poaching in Argentina's EEZ, and despite having been warned several times to arrest sailing it turned around and tried to ram the Coast Guard Pedro Debres. The Argentine vessel fired warning shots and finally to the bow, which caused the jigger to sink gradually with ample time for the crew to be rescued by another Chinese jigger closely monitoring the incident.
However following the action the Chinese government expressed 'great concern' and asked for the incident to be solve adequately as soon as possible, although it should not affect bilateral relations.
The case is in the Federal court of Judge Hugo Sastre in Rawson, Chubut province which is collecting data on the incident: the Coast Guard report, witnesses statements, including those from the captain and three crew members from the sunken jigger who are retained in Argentina.