South Korean vessel towed by North Korea


The vessel, named 800, with four crew on board crossed several kilometres into North Korean waters when returning from a fishing trip in the East Sea off the Korean peninsula, a ministry spokesman said, quoting the military officials. It was seized around 6.30 a.m. (2130 GMT Wednesday).

"We demand North Korea return the South Korean fishermen and their boat as soon as possible," Chun Hae Sung said, adding that the demand was passed on to Pyongyang via military channels.

Pyongyang acknowledged the message and said it would look into the matter, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported, quoting unification ministry officials.

A malfunction of the boat's global positioning system (GPS) is likely to have been responsible for the vessel straying off course, the spokesman added.

The incident comes at a time of rising tension between the two Koreas, following Pyongyang conducting a nuclear test as well as test-firing ballistic missiles earlier this year.
A South Korean worker employed at a jointly operated industrial complex in North Korea has been detained for more than 120 days for allegedly speaking ill of the Pyongyang regime.

The North is also holding two American journalists who were detained at its border with China in March and later found guilty of hostile acts against North Korea.

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