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North Korea Foreign Ministry silent on Russian yacht detention — embassy

May 18, 14:55 UTC+3 PYONGYANG
The Elfin yacht with five crew members onboard was detained in the Sea of Japan some 80 miles off North Korea’s coast on May 14 and towed off to the port city of Kimchaek
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© Vitaly Nevar/TASS/archive

PYONGYANG, May 18. /TASS/. Russian diplomats are still waiting for explanations of North Korea’s foreign ministry on the detention of the Elfin yacht this weekend, spokesman for Russia’s embassy in Pyongyang Denis Samsonov told TASS on Wednesday.

"There is still no official response to a note handed over on Saturday to the foreign ministry of North Korea," Samsonov said. "The North Korean foreign ministry is keeping silence."

The Elfin yacht with five crew members onboard was detained in the Sea of Japan some 80 miles off North Korea’s coast on May 14 and towed off to the port city of Kimchaek. The vessel, belonging to the Primorye Sailing Association, was on the way from the South Korean port of Busan to Vladivostok after an international regatta.

Russia’s Consul General in Chongjin Yury Bochkarev met with representatives of the local border guard service in Kimchaek. They said the yacht was detained by a North Korean fishing boat. The North Korean fishermen saw a South Korean logotype on the vessel and decided to tow it off to Kimchaek "just in case" taking into consideration tense relations between North Korea and South Korea. They later told the consul general that "the detention occurred by mistake."

The coast guards in Kimchaek solved the situation and allowed the yacht to leave the port and North Korea’s territorial waters on May 15. The vessel arrived in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Tuesday.

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