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South Korea rejects North's fax request to meet with fishermen seeking asylum

A request by North Korea to meet face-to-face with two of its citizens who are seeking asylum in South Korea has been rejected by the South Korean government, who deemed the request "not appropriate."

By JC Finley
South Korea rejects North's fax request to meet with fishermen seeking asylum
South Korean military police (not shown) stand guard in a conference hall straddling the border between North and South Korea as a North Korean soldier approaches to have a look through a window near the demarcation line separating the two countries in the Demilitarized Zone's (DMZ) Joint Security Area (JSA) in Seoul on January 29, 2013. (UPI/Stephen Shaver) | License Photo

SEOUL, June 5 (UPI) -- Seoul has denied Pyongyang's request to meet with two North Korean fishermen whose boat meandered into South Korean waters on Saturday.

Pyongyang sent the request via fax on Tuesday, warning Seoul that if denied a face-to-face meeting with the North Korean fishermen, Pyongyang would consider the incident "an act of abduction and take firm action."

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South Korean officials maintained that such a meeting would be inappropriate, explaining "because those two [North Korean fishermen] sought to defect to South Korea."

A third fisherman, who was recovered with the other two men, asked to be repatriated and was sent back to North Korea on Tuesday.

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