Tampa Bay Times

Fishing boat, crew returned from North

- Times wires

North Korea sent back a South Korean fishing boat and its crew who Pyongyang says were detained for crossing the eastern sea border between the rivals. While the North’s state media said the decision was based on humanitari­an grounds, experts said it wasn’t clear whether the repatriati­on reflected intentions to improve relations with the South amid heightened animosity over Pyongyang’s expanding nuclear program. The boat’s 10 crew members included not only South Koreans, but also three Vietnamese fishermen, which might have influenced the North’s decision, said Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unificatio­n.

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