South Korean Unification Ministry announced Monday that it had to return a North Korean fishing boat and three North Korean sailors on board to Pyongyang.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement it had decided to return the boat and three North Koreans to the north this afternoon on the basis of their desire to return.
The Ministry delivered the letter to the North through the inter-Korean liaison office in the city of Kisong this morning, leaving the boat and three sailors to the northern border line in the eastern sea.
The North Korean fishing boat, which had three northern sailors, crossed the northern border line in the eastern sea on Saturday evening.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean naval surveillance system monitored the wooden boat. After 24 minutes, the boat moved to the south and across the northern border, where a naval ship was immediately dispatched to the scene. The three crew members and the boat were transported to a military port in Yangyang city of Kangwon province on Sunday morning.
The three northerners told investigators that their boat across the northern border line, which de facto represents the maritime boundary between the two Koreas, is due to a “navigation error” and has no intention of resorting to the south, the official said.