North Korea to return abducted South Korean farmers, U.N. says
October 17, 1997
Web posted at: 3:45 a.m. EDT (0745 GMT)
SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea has indicated to U.N.
military officials that it would return two South Korean farmers abducted on Friday morning, a U.N. Command spokesman said.
"It should be very quick," said U.N. Military Command
spokesman Jim Coles.
He said several time frames had been discussed between
North Korean army representatives and U.N. officials at the
truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily fortified
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
In an earlier statement on Friday the United Nations Command had reported the two South Korean farmers as being kidnapped by North Korean troops in the DMZ.
"At approximately 11:45 a.m. (0245 GMT), 12 armed members
of the Korean Peoples Army (KPA) crossed the Military
Demarcation Line (MDL) and abducted two South Korean farmers in a rice field northeast of the village of Daesung-dong, south of the MDL," the statement said.
The North Korean soldiers then moved north of the
demarcation line, which bisects the DMZ, with the two South
Koreans, a man and a woman, the U.N. statement said.
"At this time there is no report of fire exchanged by
either side," the statement said.
Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, had reported before the U.N. statement that shots were exchanged between South and North Korean border guards.
Panmunjom, 56 kilometers (35 miles) from Seoul, is a truce
village inside the 4-kilometer (2.5 mile)-wide buffer zone running roughly along the 38th parallel.
The small South Korean farming village of Daesung-dong lies
within the southern half of the zone about a mile from
Panmunjom. It faces a North Korean village across the border. Both were permitted under the agreement that established the buffer.
The Korean Peninsula is divided between the Communist North and the capitalist South. The two sides never signed a formal truce ending their 1950-53 war and their border is the world's most heavily armed, with nearly 2 million troops deployed on both sides.
Reuters contributed to this report.