SEOUL, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- North Korea has been asked to free the crew of a South Korean fishing boat that Pyongyang seized three days ago, South Korea said Wednesday.
Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said a formal message seeking the crew's release was sent through a special military hotline to the head of the North's Red Cross, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Lee said the message asks that the seven crew members of the fishing vessel Daeseung be returned to South Korea "promptly in line with international law and customs on humanitarian grounds."
She said South Korea has also asked the North to explain in detail how the fishing boat was seized.
South Korea is investigating whether the 41-ton vessel trespassed into the North's exclusive economic zone in the East Sea.
So far, Pyongyang has provided no word on the status of the crew of four South Koreans and three Chinese sailors.