China said it has "serious concerns" about an incident during which the Argentinian coastguard sank a Chinese trawler illegally fishing in its waters, reports said Wednesday.

China filed a formal complaint with the Argentinian government after the operation which began late on Monday, during which all 30 crew members on the Chinese vessel were safely rescued.

The coastguard said it made numerous radio calls in Spanish and English, and attempted to contact the Chinese boat with other audible and visual signals, China's state-run Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

The Chinese fishing boat turned off its lights and rammed the coastguard vessel, before attempting to flee to international waters, the Argentina coastguard said.

The coastguard pursued the fishing vessel, it said.

"On several occasions, the offending ship performed manoeuvres designed to force a collision with the coast guard, putting at risk not only its own crew but coastguard personnel, who were then ordered to shoot parts of the vessel," the statement said.

The Chinese captain and three crew members boarded the coastguard vessel, while the remaining crew were picked up by another Chinese boat, the Xinhua report said.

The incident began late Monday, the coastguard said, but it was unclear whether it ended later that day or on Tuesday.

Since 1990, 19 foreign trawlers have been captured in Argentinian waters by the coastguard.

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