1st LD Writethru: DPRK releases Chinese fishing vessel: consular official

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A private fishing vessel seized by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was released early Tuesday, a Chinese consular official told Xinhua.

Yu Xuejun, ship-owner of the "Liaoning Generic Fishing No. 25222" from Dalian city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, told the Chinese embassy here that the fishermen aboard the boat were "all safe on their way back around 3 a.m. (1800 GMT Monday)," according to the official.

"Yu told us that the fishermen are to continue fishing on the sea before heading back to China," he said, adding that the DPRK side has yet to confirm the release to the Chinese embassy.

The Chinese embassy made representations to the DPRK's Foreign Ministry upon receiving Yu's call for help on May 10, calling for the prompt release of the vessel as well as the fishermen aboard.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday urged the DPRK to safeguard the health and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese fisherman detained, and to handle the incident properly. Endi

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