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Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A South Korean coast guard official says a fishing boat carrying three North Koreans has drifted south of the countries' eastern maritime boundary.

The official says the boat was found Thursday evening near the South Korean island of Ulleung after drifting for weeks due to engine failure. He says the North Koreans have expressed their desire to return home.

The official declined to be named because intelligence authorities were also handling the case. The National Intelligence Service declined comment.

North Korean boats occasionally drift south of the Koreas' maritime border. Some of the North Koreans ask to return home, but some choose to defect.

Citizens of the two sides cannot travel freely across the border. The countries remain divided after the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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