China: North Korea: Pyongyang seizes Chinese fishing boats and demands ransom to free them

world | May 18, 2012 | By Asia News

Beijing - The North Korean government has asked China to pay a ransom of 1.2 million yuan (about 120 thousand euros) to obtain the release of some vessels with a total of 29 men on board. The ships were intercepted last May 8 in the Yellow Sea: it is unclear whether or not they entered in the territorial waters of Pyongyang. This is an unusual request from North Korea, which has China's diplomatic and economic support.

Zhang Dechang, owner of a vessel, said that after some negotiations the Korean demand dropped to 900 thousand Yuan, which according to him is "a ransom". Currently the 29 fishermen are all in North Korea, but Pyongyang has not clarified their legal status. For its part, Beijing has not disclosed any details regarding the incident.

Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said this morning: "China maintains close contacts with North Korea to ensure that the legitimate rights of our fellow citizens are respected. We have all channels open, and we hope that the problem will be solved in an appropriate manner in the shortest possible time. "

The Pyongyang regime is in desperate need of money. Brought to its knees by economic policies on the edge of madness, from famine and the international embargo on humanitarian aid (decided after military provocations and nuclear texts), it is on the brink of financial collapse. Beijing, to date is the only country to continue sending aid and invest in the country.

 

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