One more North Korean fisherman was rescued while drifting in South Korean waters last week and the South Korean government has accepted his wish to defect, a government official said Monday.
"One North Korean citizen was rescued on June 16 while drifting in a small broken boat in the East Sea near the Dokdo island," the official said.
The fisherman expressed his hope to remain in South Korea during a government interrogation and the government accepted his decision on humanitarian grounds, according to the government official.
The latest rescue of the North Korean fisherman came one week after Seoul repatriated five North Korean fishermen who were picked up from a sinking boat in South Korean waters in the previous week.
Another group of three North Korean seamen were also rescued in the South Korean side of the East Sea last month.
One of them was sent back to his communist homeland, but the other two were allowed to remain in the South after expressing their wish to do so.
The government official said the North Korean regime's recent order to increase seafood production has sent many North Korean fishermen to go far away in search of squid rich in the East Sea in the summer season, with some of them ending up drifting in a broken boat in South Korean waters.
"Some of the North Korean fishing boats are very poorly made, and the recent series of accidents seem to have been caused by these boats that came too far away in the sea because of (North
Korean) authorities' instruction to boost seafood production," the official said. (Yonhap)