North Korea to free seven fishermen detained last month

By Chico Harlan
Monday, September 6, 2010; 9:17 AM

North Korea will release seven crew members detained since last month after their fishing boat was captured in the East Sea, Pyongyang's news agency said Monday. The Korean Central News Agency said that the fishermen apologized for trespassing in North Korean waters and were released with the "compatriotic and humanitarian points of view."

The fishermen - four South Koreans and three Chinese - went missing Aug. 8. At the time of their capture, they were roughly 160 miles off the North Korean coast on Pyongyang's side of the maritime border. North Korea resisted earlier pleas from Seoul to release the crew members.

The move comes at a time of a slight thaw in tense relations on the peninsula. South Korea announced last week that its Red Cross would donate $8.4 million to help with flood aid in the North.

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