North Korea frees Russian fishing boat: Moscow

29 Juillet, 2019, 18:45 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

They'd been held after their fishing ship broke down and drifted into North Korean waters earlier this month.

South Korea's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, welcomed the boat's "safe return", calling the release "positive from a humanitarian perspective".

The Tass report said the ship was heading to the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan to catch crabs when it was detained.

The crew members were aboard a Russia-flagged fishing boat when it was detained by North Korea on July 17.

The ship left from North Korea's eastern port city of Wonsan on Saturday evening following its release.

The Seoul government learned of the fact later that night.

Seoul said North Korea is holding six other South Koreans it has arrested in recent years on anti-state and other charges.

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Russian Federation would not hold any talks on fisheries cooperation with North Korea - which cover fishing quotas for North Korean fisherman in Russia's far east - until the matter was satisfactorily resolved, RIA cited the agency as saying.

"The boat was spotted alone about 5.5 kilometers north of the NLL, before changing course toward the South and crossing the NLL at a speed of two to five knots", a JCS officer said on condition of anonymity, adding an investigation is underway to find exact cause of the NLL violation.

But there's still more to be analyzed from here on like how they came to be detained, how their release came about, . and how their ship was fixed.

In a briefing to reporters, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it found no evidence to raise suspicion of espionage or other illegal activities based on the crew members' testimony and their request for repatriation as well as the result of an inspection of the ship.

It added, the incident won't impact inter-Korean relations as it's a humanitarian issue resolved in accordance with global law.

The incident adds to a series of illicit crossings of the Northern Limit Line by North Korean boats, increasing concerns over the South Korean military's surveillance capabilities.

Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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