Two rescued N. Korean sailors voice hope to defect to S. Korea: Seoul

SEOUL-- Two out of the four North Korean fishermen recently rescued in the East Sea have expressed a willingness to defect to the South, Seoul's unification ministry said Thursday.

Seoul allowed them to stay in South Korea as they expressed hope for defection during the government's probe, according to the Ministry of Unification. South Korea rescued four North Korean fishermen on two ships drifting in waters off its east coast last week.

"The government handled the issue from humanitarian grounds and based on a practice under which the government respects their will," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that South Korea's Coast Guard will hand over the two other fishermen Friday across the de facto maritime border in the East Sea.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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