A North Korean fisherman who was rescued adrift in the East Sea last week says he wants to defect to South Korea.
A government official here said Monday the man, who is in his 20s, was found adrift in a small broken boat and rescued in waters near Dokdo in the East Sea on June 16. "Under questioning he expressed hope to remain here," the official added.
This was the third time in a month that North Koreans were rescued in the East Sea. On May 31, three fishermen were rescued after they suffered engine trouble in waters near Ulleung Island. Two of them decided to stay here and the other returned.
On June 13, five fishermen were rescued from a small sinking boat about 60 km northeast of Dokdo. All were sent back to the North.
The reason so many North Korean fishing boats have been found adrift in South Korean waters recently is probably that the communist regime has put excessive pressure on fishermen to increase their catch.
In a press briefing, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said, "It seems that North Korean fishing boats have simply not been up to the unreasonable quota the regime has set."