Tuesday, December 20, 2005
The commander of Russia's border guards in the Far East of the country voiced his concerns Monday over North Korea's position in relation to a cargo ship detained in its waters in early December.
Speaking about the decision to detain the Terney, which the Russian captain says was given permission to seek shelter from a storm in North Korean waters, Lieutenant General Vladimir Lakizo said the move was bewildering and was also critical of North Korean efforts against criminal structures. "That North Korean border guards have repeatedly ignored [our] requests to detain ships poaching in Russian territorial waters that later fled to North Korean waters is even more perplexing," he said. "They have said every time that they don't have the people." The Terney was returning to the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok from the South Korean port of Busan when it encountered a heavy storm in the Sea of Japan. Trying to escape the storm, it neared the shores of North Korea on December 5 and was detained by North Korean border-guards. Russian diplomats have been seeking its release since then. Lakizo said the countries had signed an agreement on joint efforts against poaching and state border violations. "Only the Russian party complies with its provisions," he said. The general said Russian Pacific border guards had arrested 14 North Korean fishing boats this year. "Investigations took at most two days," he said, "after which the ships left Russian waters." Lakizo added that Russia had arrested a North Korean cargo ship June 7 with more than 20 metric tons of poached crabs after the ship violated the Russian border. The captain was given a suspended prison sentence of 18 months for poaching and smuggling.