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DPRK releases Chinese fishing boat, fishermen

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-21 18:55

BEIJING - A Chinese fishing boat held by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) with 16 fishermen onboard was released early on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press conference here, quoting report by the owner of the vessel.

"The crew was safe and the owner did not pay the so-called penalty," said Hong.

Yu Xuejun, who owns fishing boat "Liaoning Generic Fishing No. 25222" from Dalian, in Northeast China's Liaoning province, said he received a phone call from the boat's captain at 3:50 am, saying the vessel and the fishermen had been released.

The boat has joined other Chinese fishing vessels to continue fishing at sea.

Hong said since the boat was seized by the DPRK on May 5, the Foreign Ministry, the Chinese Embassy to the DPRK and border police had lodged representations to the DPRK over the detention of the vessel and demanded the DPRK ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese fishermen and release the boat and the fishermen as early as possible.

Efforts from multiple parties have contributed to the release, he said.

The Chinese side has demanded that the DPRK launch an overall investigation into the case, and take effective actions to prevent similar incidents from happening again, according to the spokesman.

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