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29 Chinese held in North Korea freed: report
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 20, 2012


All 29 Chinese fishermen kidnapped earlier this month by unidentified armed North Koreans have been freed and are on their way home, Chinese state media said on Sunday.

The fishermen were working on three boats which were reportedly captured at sea on May 8 by gunmen believed to be North Koreans.

The Chinese embassy in the North Korean capital Pyongyang was told by the North Korean foreign ministry that the group had been freed and the vessels and crews were going home, the Xinhua news agency said.

On Friday, Xinhua reported that "some" of the detained had already returned to port, while those remaining in North Korean hands were "safe and sound".

Chinese state media previously reported that the snatched men were fishing in the waters between China and North Korea when they were seized.

Xinhua said Chinese embassy staff in Pyongyang had been negotiating the release of the fishermen.

Chinese fishermen regularly run into difficulties with the authorities of other countries as they fish in areas that are claimed by both China and its neighbours.

However, so far there has been no indication that the North Korean gunmen were security forces from the isolated country -- which counts China as its sole major ally.

N. Koreans free 'some' kidnapped Chinese: report
Beijing (AFP) May 19, 2012 - A number of Chinese fishermen kidnapped earlier this month by unidentified North Koreans have been freed, Chinese state media said, as diplomats worked to secure the release of the remainder.

The freed Chinese, whose number was not disclosed, were among a group of 29 fishermen working on three different boats who were reportedly captured at sea on May 8 by gunmen believed to be North Koreans.

"Some of the detained vessels and crew have already returned to port," the state-controlled Xinhua news agency said late Friday, without elaborating.

The foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment, and one of the owners of the boats that had been seized said he also had no information.

"I also saw the news online, but we haven't met any of the fishermen," the owner, Zhang Dechang, told AFP by telephone from the northeastern province of Liaoning, near China's border with North Korea.

"I called some of their relatives, and they didn't know either what the situation is. We still have to wait."

Chinese state media previously reported that the men were fishing off the country's northeast coast, in the waters between China and North Korea, when they were snatched.

The Xinhua report said Chinese embassy staff in the North Korean capital Pyongyang were negotiating the release of the rest of the fishermen.

The fishermen remaining in North Korean hands were "safe and sound" and had enough to eat and access to medical help, according to Xinhua.

Chinese fishermen regularly run into difficulties with the authorities of other countries as they fish in areas that are claimed by both China and its neighbours.

However, so far there has been no indication that the North Korean gunmen who seized the sailors were security forces from the isolated country -- which counts China as its sole major ally.

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N.Korea moving ahead on reactor: pictures
Washington (AFP) May 16, 2012
North Korea appears to be moving ahead with the building of a light-water reactor that could be used to support its nuclear weapons program, according to satellite images released Wednesday. The signs of progress come amid fears that the secretive communist state is planning a new nuclear test, although experts said that the new reactor is likely still years away from being operational. ... read more


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