North admits seizing trawler

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North admits seizing trawler

North Korea said yesterday that it seized a South Korean fishing boat and its four South Korean and three Chinese crew members, confirming the fate of the ship since it was captured nearly two weeks ago.

In a short dispatch from Pyongyang, the North’s Korean Central News Agency claimed the boat, Daeseung, had violated the inter-Korean border.

The 41-ton boat disappeared on Aug. 8 while en route to a joint fishing area between the two Koreas off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. The fishing boat was believed to have been taken by the North, but Pyongyang had refused to respond to several inquiries by Seoul on the fate of the ship and its crew.

“A South Korean boat that was fishing in our exclusive economic zone in the East Sea was seized by the KPA [North Korean military] navy on August 8,” the dispatch said. “A preliminary investigation revealed the boat, with four South Koreans and three Chinese on board, intruded into our economic zone.”

The seizure was made during a major South Korean naval exercise in the Yellow Sea, for which the North threatened retaliation.

Yonhap, AFP

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