South Korea has released three Chinese fishermen after questioning them over a maritime scuffle with the coast guard.
Coast guard official Roh Sang-gue said authorities handed the fishermen over to Chinese diplomats at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.
The coast guard has said about 50 Chinese boats were illegally fishing in western South Korean waters on December 18 when a coast guard ship approached them to try to curb their activities.
Mr Roh has said one boat capsized after it intentionally hit a larger coast guard ship, apparently to help compatriots sail back to Chinese waters. One fisherman died and another has been missing since the vessel capsized.