7 Drifting N.Koreans 'Not Refugees'

      December 23, 2009 10:45

      The government has decided to send back all seven North Koreans who drifted to the South off the west coast aboard a fishing boat Monday. The decision was made because all of them expressed a desire to return to the North, an official said Tuesday.

      The seven North Koreans were picked up by a South Korean fishing boat drifting 17 miles south of Deokjeok Island. Under questioning by the government, all seven fishermen said they want to return to home.

      The government will discuss with the North Korean authorities the procedures for their repatriation through the liaison channel at the truce village of Panmunjom.

      A North Korean fisherman who drifted south in a boat earlier this week walks across the border between South and North Korea at the truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, about 55 km north of Seoul on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Unification Ministry
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