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Gov't says response manual on stranded N. Korean fishing boats under review

North Korea 11:40 June 25, 2019

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- The government is reviewing its manual on how to handle North Korean boats found in the South, the unification ministry said Tuesday, amid mounting criticism for mishandling the undetected arrival of a North Korean boat at an eastern port earlier this month.

The government has been under fire following revelations that it failed to detect the small wooden boat carrying four North Koreans until it arrived at the port of Samcheok, about 130 kilometers away from the eastern sea border.

Fueling the criticism were allegations that the military tried to cover up its failure to detect the boat.

The incident triggered apologies from Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.

In a report to parliament, the ministry said the government will do its best to share related situations with the public on time when a similar incident occurs.

"We will review if there were any shortcomings in our response to the latest incident and discuss with related government agencies ways to improve our response manual," a ministry official said.

Of the four North Koreans crew members, two returned to their home country last week according to their wishes and the other two have stayed as they've expressed a desire to defect to the South.


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