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(LEAD) N. Korean crosses inter-border water holding on to styrofoam float

2016/08/24 14:28

(ATTN: ADDS details throughout)

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean man was found holding on to a styrofoam float in waters near the western border island of Yeonpyeong, military sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, the man was rescued by a fishing boat after a soldier spotted him at around 7:10 a.m.

The military said it is currently investigating whether the 27-year-old wants to defect or was involved in an accident.

"Although it is true that a North Korean was rescued, we cannot provide details as such information is confidential," a security official said.

Earlier this month, three North Koreans also crossed the border on a fishing boat, and expressed their intention to defect to the South. The boat and crews were then brought into Incheon, west of Seoul, and handed over to local intelligence officials.

North Korea has been suffering from a series of defections of its people, both from the lower and upper brackets.

Thae Yong-ho, who served as a minister at North Korea's embassy in London, arrived in South Korea late last month, which marked a rare case of a senior Pyongyang diplomat escaping the country.

colin@yna.co.kr

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