North Korean defectors found at sea

The South Korean coast guard found the group Tuesday near the port city of Incheon, according to reports.

Story highlights

  • The men, women and children are found in the Yellow Sea
  • They express an interest to defect, Yonhap reports
  • In August, South Korea returns four North Korea fishermen
The South Korean coast guard said Saturday it found 21 North Korean defectors adrift on the Yellow Sea this week.
The coast guard found the group Tuesday near the port city of Incheon, South Korea's Yonhap New Agency reported.
The group included men, women and children, according to Yonhap, which said they expressed their desire to defect to the South and are under investigation by intelligence officials.
In August, South Korea returned home four North Korean fishermen, who were rescued from two sinking boats. They were found adrift in waters just south of the western maritime border near the South Korean island of Baengnyeong.
Tensions between the neighbors heightened last year after 50 South Koreans were killed in two separate incidents in the area.
In November, the South accused North Korea of shelling Yeonpyeong Island near the border between the two sides. The incident killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.
North Korea said the shelling was in retaliation for the South's navy firing into Northern waters.
In March 2010, South Korea accused the North of torpedoing and sinking one of its warships, killing 46 sailors.
North Korea has denied attacking the warship Cheonan, though a Seoul-led international investigation found that a North Korean mini-submarine was responsible.