NKorea accuses Seoul of capturing ship with NKorean fishermen

April 19, 2011 12:26

The South Korean authorities committed "a grave crime", capturing a vessel with 31 North Korean fishermen in the Yellow Sea on February 5, says a statement by the central committee of the North Korean Red Cross, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Itar-Tass.  

It stresses that the capture of this fishing long boat by three South Korean naval speedboats, despite protests of the crew, "took place in waters under North Korean control". Besides, "another ten South Korean warships were in combat readiness nearby at the time".

Following this event, the fishermen were kept in custody for over 50 days, while Seoul refused four of them to return home. The North Korean Red Cross Society claimed that they had taken such a decision "under psychological pressure of South Korean authorities" which "deliberately fan up tension in relations between compatriots in the North and the South, interfering with the inter-Korean dialogue".

North Korea repeatedly demanded that South Korea should organise a working meeting (through the Red Cross Society) to discuss the question on the four fishermen who allegedly expressed a desire to stay in the South. However, Seoul repeatedly replied with a refusal.

Late in March, South Korea repatriated 27 North Korean fishermen to the DPRK. The other four North Koreans remained in South Korea. The North strives, as before, for a return of all the fishermen. According to the North Korean version, they lost their whereabouts on February 5 under conditions of a thick fog in an area of the Yellow Sea and were captured by South Koreans.

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