Pyongyang accused Tokyo Saturday of deliberately sinking a North Korean fishing boat that collided with a Japanese patrol vessel earlier this week in waters claimed by North Korea. Around 60 people were rescued on Monday after the vessel sank following the collision, according to Japanese media.
The ship is believed to have been fishing illegally in Japanese waters, with experts saying some North Korean fishermen are traveling further to satisfy Pyongyang's mandates for bigger catches. But Pyongyang's foreign ministry spokesperson said the recent incident took place in "the waters of East Sea of Korea" and demanded compensation.
"A patrol ship of the Japanese Fisheries Agency committed a gangster act of sinking our fishing vessel which was on normal navigation in the waters of East Sea of Korea," the spokesperson said in a statement on the official Korean Central News Agency. The spokesperson demanded Tokyo compensate North Korea, and "work out steps to prevent a recurrence of such incident".
Japan has steadily upgraded the nation's military in the face of missile and nuclear threats from North Korea and has received some of Pyongyang's harshest rhetoric. The country has shown little interest in engagement with Tokyo, while leader Kim Jong-Un has had summits with world leaders including Trump, China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin and South Korea's Moon Jae-in in recent years.
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