N. Korean Ship Sails in South Waters

The Associated Press
Sunday, May 20, 2007; 3:14 AM

SEOUL, South Korea -- A North Korean cargo ship arrived in South Korean waters for the first time in more than 50 years on Sunday, as commercial shipping services began to open up between the divided countries, officials said.

The 1,850-ton Kang Song Ho with a crew of 27 anchored near the southeastern port of Busan early Sunday for inspections by South Korean maritime authorities, said Kim Na-young, a coast guard official.

Kim said the ship _ the first North Korean cargo vessel to arrive in South Korea for commercial business since the 1950-53 Korean War _ would dock at Busan port on Monday.

The North Korean ship will "carry cargoes between Busan and the North's northeastern port of Rajin three times a month," said Lee Won-jae, an official for Kukbo Express Co., a South Korean agent for the North's cargo ship.

The ship was expected to depart Busan as early as Monday after loading 60 empty containers, said Lee.

Officials handling the issue at South Korea's Unification Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

North and South Korea are still technically at war as the Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. But their relations have warmed significantly since the first and only summit of their leaders in 2000.

© 2007 The Associated Press