North Korea map
North Korea map

South Korea said Tuesday it repatriated three North Korean fishermen who had been rescued from their hobbled boat in the East Sea.

A South Korean unification ministry statement said the fishermen “expressed their wish to return home” and were handed back to North Korea Tuesday evening in the border village of Panmunjeom.

The ministry said their boat had originally departed from the port city of Wonsan before experiencing engine failure and beginning to drift.

South Korean vessels periodically rescue North Korean fishermen, some of whom request asylum in the South.

North and South Korea have been divided since the end of fighting in the Korean War more than 60 years ago. They are separated by a heavily guarded demilitarized zone that prevents most unauthorized travel between the two sides.