SEOUL, South Korea -- A Chinese passenger plane hijacked to South Korea two weeks ago left for home Wednesday, ending an incident that led to the first official contact between China and South Korea.
The British-made Trident jetliner of China's state airline, CAAC, left Seoul's Kimpo International Airport at 10 a.m. with 13 people aboard.
Among the passengers was a radio operator who was one of two crew members wounded May 5 when five men and a woman armed with two pistols hijacked the plane to South Korea in the first hijacking of a jetliner out of China.
The plane's 96 passengers and eight other crew members returned home May 10.
The hijackers told Korean authorities they were seeking political asylum in Taiwan. China demanded their return, but officials in Seoul said they would be tried under South Korean law. The trial could lead to the hijackers' eventual expulsion to Taiwan.
Korean officials said the jet was en route straight to Peking would not stop at Shanghai, its destination when it was hijacked on a domestic flight from Shenyang in northeastern China.
'On behalf of CAAC, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the help and warm hospitality your government and people have extended to us,' Yoo Won-bum, deputy director of CAAC, said at the airport.
China, which has no diplomatic relations with South Korea, sent a delegation to Seoul to negotiate the return of the plane, its passengers and crew.
In a memorandum on the repatriation, China used the official name of South Korea for the first time, which was seen by some observers as de facto recognition of the Seoul government.