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  Thursday, September 24, 2020
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The North Korean authorities barred on Sunday a top Russian diplomat
The North Korean authorities barred on Sunday a top Russian diplomat from meeting with the crew of a Russian ship arrested in the Sea of Japan for allegedly violating the North Korean border.

The Russian Lidiya Demesh vessel was carrying a batch of cars from the Japanese port of Hamata to Vladivostok in Russia's Far East, when a North Korean border guard vessel stopped it near Cape Musudan, three to five miles from North Korea's shores, on Saturday morning.

"I intended to go there [to meet with the crew] but was not allowed on the grounds that the investigation is not yet over," Valery Valkovich, Russia's general consul in Chongjin, said over the phone.

The diplomat said there were 25 crewmembers aboard the ship who were safe and expressed the hope that the vessel would soon be released.

Another Russian vessel was arrested by the North Korean Coast Guard Service near Cape Musudan in December 2005. The Ternei ship was caught in a storm on its way from South Korea to Vladivostok. The captain decided to seek shelter in the North Korean territorial waters in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and informed North Korea of his intention.

However, the Ternei was later on arrested for border violation by North Korean border guards. The Russian ship was convoyed to the port of Kimch'aek and released two weeks later through the mediation of Russian diplomats.


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