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N. Korea offers no words on seized S. Korean fishing boat
SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has offered no words yet on a South Korean fishing boat it seized in waters off the Korean Peninsula's east coast, the Unification Ministry said Monday.

   The 41-ton squid fishing boat, Daeseung 55, was apprehended on Sunday from waters presumed to be within the North's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East Sea. Four South Koreans and three Chinese crew members were aboard the boat, and one of them told the South's coast guard via a satellite phone that the vessel was seized by a North Korean patrol boat.Data picture
"So far, there has been no notification from the North Korean side regarding this incident," ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters.

   South Korea has urged the North to release the boat as early as possible.

   "The government has urged the North to deal quickly with the case and release our crew members and their boat in accordance with the international law and practices," Chun said.

   Chun also said it is still unclear exactly where the fishing boat was seized, including whether it was inside the North's EEZ as presumed. The government and the coast guard are trying to confirm details of the seizure, he said.

   The incident came amid high tensions between the two Koreas in the wake of the March sinking of a South Korean warship near their western sea border. Since last week, South Korea has been conducting massive naval exercises designed as a show of force and a warning against further North Korean provocations.

   The two Koreas are still technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty. North Korea does not recognize the western sea border, drawn by the United Nations at the end of the war.

   jschang@yna.co.kr
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