Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Report: N. Koreans defect in wooden boat

Source: CNN.
May 1, 2007.

SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) -- Four North Koreans have drifted south across a heavily guarded maritime border in a wooden boat and are seeking political asylum, South Korean media reported on Wednesday quoting government officials.

The group of four was picked up after midnight on Saturday near South Korean islands off the west coast and said they wanted to defect, media quoted the officials as saying.

South Korea's defense ministry and the intelligence agency declined to comment on the case, citing what they said was the need to protect the group.

The waters off the west coast have been hotly contested by both Koreas and have been the scene of naval skirmishes in past years that killed scores of sailors on both sides.

Defections of North Koreans by sea to the South are rare because of the heavy military presence. The two Koreas, still technically at war, share one of the most fortified borders in the world.

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