Skip to main content

South Korea rejects North's fax request to meet fishermen

By Madison Park and KJ Kwon, CNN
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
This file photo shows the village of Panmunjom which lies in the Demilitarized Zone.
This file photo shows the village of Panmunjom which lies in the Demilitarized Zone.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South Korea rebuffs North Korea's demand to meet two fishermen
  • Three North Korean fishermen were found Saturday off South Korea's east coast
  • One fisherman returned to North Korea on Tuesday

Seoul (CNN) -- South Korea has rebuffed North Korea's demand to meet two of its fishermen whose boat strayed into the South's waters.

Three North Korean fishermen were found Saturday in a boat off South Korea's eastern coast, according to the South's Unification Ministry. Two of the men sought to stay in the South and one expressed a desire to return to his homeland.

That fisherman was sent back to North Korea through Panmunjom, the border village in the middle of the Demilitarized Zone on Tuesday, said a Unification Ministry spokesman.

The remaining two are expected to be the subject of a South Korean investigation.

North Korean drones raise fears
The images North Korea doesn't want seen

On Tuesday, North Korea sent a fax, demanding to meet the remaining two fishermen, saying that if their request for a face-to-face meeting was rejected, it would consider the incident "an act of abduction and take firm action."

South Korean officials rejected the request, saying it was "not appropriate... because those two sought to defect to South Korea."

North Koreans who come to South Korea typically go through an investigation, then attend a settlement support center called Hanawon. At this center, they are taught how to live in South Korean culture and society. After completing the six-month program, they are given a resettlement fee of up to $24,000.

In 2013, more than 1,500 North Koreans are known to have defected to South Korea and more than 26,000 are known to have defected overall.

CNN's KJ Kwon reported from South Korea and Madison Park in Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Wed July 2, 2014
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 11:13 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
updated 7:38 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
updated 7:44 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
updated 8:12 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
updated 3:26 PM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
updated 10:06 AM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
updated 2:42 PM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
updated 8:03 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
updated 12:30 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
ADVERTISEMENT