The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s military said Friday that it has begun an investigation on the South Korean fishermen that they seized Thursday, the South Korean Unification Ministry said.
On its fax message to the South Korean government, the DPRK, in the name of a military working-level official in the East Sea district, notified that the investigation on the South Korean fishermen are conducted in a proper level, Xinhua reports.
The 29-ton boat drifted north Thursday after the satellite navigation system apparently malfunctioned. North Korean soldiers towed the vessel to the eastern port of Jangjon, just north of the border, South Korean officials said.
In the meantime, some analysts said the North could use the fishermen to exert pressure on Seoul amid badly strained ties, The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, South Korea on Friday expressed hope that North Korea will soon return a captured fishing boat and its four crew members, insisting that the vessel had accidentally strayed into Pyongyang's waters.
North Korean maritime authorities said Friday they did not yet have any information to give concerning the four fishermen, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung said in Seoul.
"It was accidental and we've urged the North to return the boat and crew at the earliest possible date," he told reporters, AFP reports.