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Detained Chinese fishermen, vessels released: DPRK authorities

(Xinhua)

08:31, May 21, 2012

PYONGYANG, May 20 (Xinhua) -- All detained Chinese fishermen and their vessels had been freed, the foreign ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Sunday.

Counsellor Jiang Yaxian with the Chinese embassy to Pyongyang told Xinhua that the DPRK foreign ministry had notified the embassy of the latest development.

The vessels and the crews have been on their way back home, Jiang said.

Jiang said Friday that the detained Chinese fishing crews were in "sound health condition with sufficient food and healthcare," and that "part of the detained vessels and crews have already been back to China."

Ambassador Liu Hongcai and other Chinese diplomats have been working actively on the detention of the Chinese fishermen along with their vessels "through negotiation and close contact."

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China had been staying in close communication with the DPRK through relevant channels to push for a proper resolution to the issue at an early date.

China demanded the DPRK ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese fishermen, he said at a daily news briefing.

It was reported that the fishing boats and their crews were held in custody by the DPRK on May 8.

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