North Korea releases seized Russian fishing boat

Russian fishing trawler Xianghailin-8 at the North Korean port of Wonsan last Friday, after being seized on July 17 by border guards. It arrived at a South Korean port yesterday.
Russian fishing trawler Xianghailin-8 at the North Korean port of Wonsan last Friday, after being seized on July 17 by border guards. It arrived at a South Korean port yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • North Korea has released a Russian fishing boat it had seized for allegedly violating entry regulations, the Russian Embassy in North Korea said yesterday, in an incident that prompted Russia to warn of talks on fisheries cooperation being frozen.

North Korea detained the 15 Russian and two South Korean crew members of the fishing boat on July 17 for violating entry rules, according to the embassy. Russia said the boat did not breach any laws.

The two South Korean men were also freed, the embassy said in a Facebook post.

Russia's RIA news agency had earlier cited Russia's fisheries authority Rosrybolovstvo as saying shipping data showed North Korea's action had been illegal and the fishing boat had not entered its waters.

Russia would not discuss fisheries cooperation with North Korea - which covers fishing quotas for North Korean fishermen in Russia's east - until the issue was resolved, RIA cited the authority as saying.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles ties with North Korea, confirmed the release of the boat and the two South Koreans.

The ministry said it considered the release positive from a humanitarian standpoint and that the trawler arrived at a South Korean port yesterday afternoon.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'North Korea releases seized Russian fishing boat'. Print Edition | Subscribe