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South Korean coastguard clashes with armada of Chinese fishing boats

Dong-A Ilbo / AFP - Getty Images

A picture taken from a South Korean helicopter shows Chinese fishing boats banded together with ropes being chased by a South Korean coastguard ship. The incident followed alleged illegal fishing by the Chinese boats in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea off Buan, South Korea, on November 16.

Dong-A Ilbo / AFP - Getty Images

msnbc.com news services report:

South Korea's coastguard has mobilized 12 ships, four helicopters and a commando squad for a special three-day crackdown on illegal fishing by Chinese boats, Agence France Presse reports.

Ten Chinese boats alleged to have been fishing without permission in the Yellow Sea banded together with ropes in an apparent attempt to resist arrest.

In dramatic scenes, some of the Chinese fishermen wielded sticks in an ultimately futile attempt to stop South Korean commandos - themselves armed with clubs - from boarding their vessels.

The U.S. and smaller Asian nations have grown increasingly concerned about China's claims of dominion over Pacific waters and the revival of old territorial disputes, including confrontations over fishing rights.

In a speech to the Australian Parliament on Thursday, President Barack Obama vowed to expand U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region and "project power and deter threats to peace" in that part of the world.

Dong-a Ilbo / AFP - Getty Images

Chinese fishermen wielding sticks try to stop an attack by South Korean coastguard commandos armed with clubs aboard rubber boats (right) during a crackdown on alleged illegal fishing in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea on November 16.

Dong-A Ilbo / AFP - Getty Images

South Korean coastguard commandos board Chinese fishing boats during a crackdown on their alleged illegal fishing in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea on November 16.