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Guard rescues North Korean boat

Feb 16,2017
The South Korean Coast Guard has rescued a North Korean boat with five crewmen on board adrift in the East Sea earlier this week, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said North Korea will be contacted later in the day to arrange the return of the crew.

A Coast Guard patrol vessel rescued the North Korean boat in waters off South Korea’s east coast early Monday, Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman at the Ministry of Unification said in a press briefing. An investigation found that the North Korean vessel drifted after experiencing engine problems, the spokesman said.

In accordance with the rescued crewmen’s wish to return home, the government will talk to North Korean authorities through the Red Cross in the afternoon. The North will be informed that the crew will be repatriated on Thursday via the truce village of Panmunjeom between the two Koreas, the official said.

The boat, however, was abandoned with the consent of the crew because it was not repairable. Any travel between the two Koreas is prohibited without approval from both governments since the countries are technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.