North Korea releases Chinese fishermen


Border fence separating China and North Korea in Jilin.


Sharron Lovell

BEIJING, China — North Korea has released a number of Chinese fishermen and boats seized earlier this month in the Yellow Sea, which lies between the two countries.

The 29 freed fishermen and three boats arrived early Monday in China's port city of Dalian, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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Xinhua said that North Korea's foreign ministry notified the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang on Sunday that the men had been freed.

The fishermen, who were seized May 8, are said to be in "sound health condition with sufficient food and healthcare." They were taken to a Dalian hospital for a medical check-up.

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Their North Korean captors had asked for a ransom payment of 1.2 million yuan ($190,000), later reduced to 900,000 yuan, in return for their release. It was not immediately clear whether a payment had been made. 

While China is North Korea's main ally, and one of its only friends, the Yellow Sea has been the site of clashes between vessels from China and North and South Korea.

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