05/05/2009, 00.00
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South Korea Navy rescues Pyongyang merchant ship

Off the coast of Yemen a pirate attack is at the origins of an informal case of collaboration between the opposing nations.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) –  A South Korean destroyer has rescued the North Korean flagged merchant ship the Debaksol, after it was threatened by Somali pirates 37 km off the coast of Yemen.

The two vessels were travelling at a distance of 96 km, when the merchant ship sent a distress message via radio, intercepted by the military vessel which has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden. It immediately launched a helicopter, which reached the scene of the attempted hijack within four minutes.  The Somali pirates in the face of the military fire power abandoned their prey and fled to safety.

Official sources in Seoul confirm that the Debaksol crew immediately sent their thanks via radio to their “historic adversary” for having come to their rescue as well as the helicopter team at the end of the rescue operation, as photos taken by the South Korean Navy confirm.

This unexpected episode comes at a time of great difficulty in relations between the governments of the two countries, which have been frozen since Pyongyang resumed its nuclear program.  Last April the North launched a missile test which has meet with harsh condemnation of the International community.

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