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N. Korea to Release Fishing Boat, Crew Tuesday

Posted September. 07, 2010 11:11,   


North Korea will release Tuesday a South Korean fishing ship and its seven-member crew held since Aug. 8, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said Monday.

“The North Korean Red Cross sent the (South) Korean Red Cross a notice through the Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee at 2 p.m. this afternoon announcing the release of the 55 Daesung and its crew at the military border in the East Sea at 4 p.m. Tuesday,” the ministry said.

A ministry source added, “Our coast guard will take the ship and crew in the relevant area at 4 p.m. Tuesday. This is very fortunate.”

The (North) Korea Central News Agency said Monday afternoon, “We decided to return (the Daesung) out of brotherly love and from a humanitarian perspective. We considered that the crew recognizes the gravity of its act and decided not to do it again, and that the (South Korean) Red Cross requested the repatriation with tolerance.”

Certain experts say the North probably mentioned the request of the South Korean Red Cross because Pyongyang seeks material assistance from the organization and other South Korean civic groups.

A high-ranking Seoul official told a news conference on Jeju Island Friday, “The government is doing its best for the release of the Daesung.”

The 41-ton squid fishing boat had communication disconnected after it made a satellite phone call to the Pohang Fishing Information and Communication Agency Aug. 8. The boat said it was captured while fishing near North Korean waters.

North Korean media said Aug. 19, “We are investigating a South Korean vessel that was fishing in our economic zone in the East Sea Aug. 8.”

Seoul had urged an early return of the ship and crew on Aug. 11 and Aug. 20 but Pyongyang did not budge.