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N. Korea releases S. Korean fishing crew

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • N. Korea says the fishing boat and its crew were intercepted in its waters
  • The North says the Sea of Japan is actually the East Sea of Korea
  • The state-run news agency cited humanitarian reasons for the release
  • The crew -- four South Koreans and three Chinese -- were captured in August

(CNN) -- North Korea has released a South Korean fishing boat and its crew, whom it seized last month, the South's Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The seven crew members will arrive in South Korea late Tuesday, Officer Heejin Kim told CNN.

The North's navy intercepted the boat in its waters in August, state-run media said Monday.

The illegal fishing operation in the Sea of Japan on August 8 was "an intolerable infringement upon the sovereignty" of North Korea, the KCNA news agency said.

But North Korea had said it would return the boat and crew on humanitarian grounds, KCNA reported.

North Korea says the Sea of Japan is actually the East Sea of Korea.

In August, a U.S. congressman submitted a resolution urging North Korea to release the crew -- four South Koreans and three Chinese, according to South Korean state-run media.

CNN's Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.