Two North Korean defectors arrive at South Korean port in fishing boat

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The South Korean Prime Minister apologized to North Korea late last week for a security lapse that allowed a North Korean fishing boat to spend two and a half days in its waters without being noticed.

A 33-foot wooden boat crossed the maritime border with South Korea last week with four North Korean men on board, and docked at Samcheok, a port 80 miles south of the border. One of the four North Koreans then came ashore, telling a South Korean villager that he came from the North and asking to borrow a cellphone so he could call an aunt who had earlier defected to the South.

During an initial interrogation by the South Korean authorities, two of the four North Koreans said they wanted to defect to the South. The other two were returned to the North on Tuesday over the land border.

The government’s apology came on the same day that President Xi Jinping of China arrived in North Korea for a state visit with Kim Jong-un.

South Koreans remain deeply worried about any breach of the border. Nearly two million troops on both sides of the border are on constant alert against possible intruders.

[New York Times]

This entry was posted in , , , by Grant Montgomery.

One thought on “Two North Korean defectors arrive at South Korean port in fishing boat

  1. Grant Montgomery on said:

    Update: South Korea sacked the commander of the South Korean Army’s 8th Corps over this incident, and rebuked other senior officers after the North Korean fishing boat piloted by defectors went undetected in South Korean waters for more than two days last month. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also received a warning, and two other senior military commanders were referred to a disciplinary committee, the Defense ministry said. The incident has raised concerns about potential lapses in South Korea’s security during fragile talks to end a technical state of war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

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