South Korea on Monday sent back five North Korean fishermen rescued from a sinking boat in South Korean waters last week, the unification ministry said.
South Korea's Coast Guard discovered the fishing boat about 60 kilometers northeast of the easternmost islets of Dokdo early Friday and rescued the five seamen aboard the ship.
The North Koreans were repatriated via the neutral border village of Panmunjon.
"Respecting the five North Korean crewmen's wish, we decided to send them all back to the North and delivered our intention to repatriate them to the North Korean side, which accepted it," unification ministry spokesman Kim Eyi-do said in a briefing.
Last month, the Coast Guard rescued three other North Koreans from a ship that was found drifting off South Korea's east coast due to engine problems.
Only one of the crew members was sent home as the other two expressed their wish to defect to the South. (Yonhap)