The North Korean citizen in his 30s drifted across the inter-Korean maritime border to the southern side of the Yellow Sea while he was picking clams on the North Korean western coast near the border area, according to the result of a probe.
A South Korean ship rescued him Sunday near Daecheongdo, one of the South Korean front-line islands along the inter-Korean sea border, according to the ministry.
As he expressed hope to be sent back home, the ministry plans to hand him over to the North on Friday through the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjon, the ministry said.
The ministry will try to notify the North of the repatriation plan through the South Korea-based United Nations Command after its first call directly to North Korea was not returned earlier in the day, according to the ministry.
A total of 43 astray North Koreans have been rescued on the southern sides of the East and Yellow Sea. Thirty-six of them have been sent back home in accordance with their will, while the seven others were allowed to stay and live in the South.
Any trip across the inter-Korean border requires government approval since the two Koreas technically remain at war since their 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)