Pyongyang detains 2 South Korean sailorsTwo South Koreans are being held in North Korea after their fishing vessel drifted into the North’s waters last week due to an engine malfunction, Unification Ministry officials said Wednesday.
The South Korean men, in their 50s and 60s, respectively, were taken to the North’s east coast city of Wonsan, along with 15 Russian crew members, on the Russian-flagged Xiang Hai Lin 8 on July 17, according to the officials. The 300-ton vessel had left the South’s northeastern port of Sokcho for the port of Zarubino in Russia’s Far East the previous day.
The sailors are known to be safe, but the North is not responding to Seoul’s repeated requests for cooperation on the prompt return of the South Korean nationals.
According to the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang, the vessel was detained for “violating the rules of entry and stay” in North Korean territory.
“All the crew members are healthy,” the embassy said in a Facebook post, after its consular officers met with the sailors Monday.
The two South Koreans, who were on board to guide and supervise the sailors, are known to be at a hotel in Wonsan. The Russian Embassy said it is in constant contact with the North over the issue and “taking all necessary measures to resolve it.”