The northern resident was sent home via the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, which sits in the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries. South Korean officials noted the North "did not show any special reaction."
The man, noted to be in his 30s, was rescued Sunday near Daecheongdo, one of South Korea’s frontline islands along the Northern Limit Line, the ministry detailed. After discovering the man wanted to return to the North, officials then contacted Pyongyang through the South Korea-based United Nations Command Thursday after attempts to reach them by their direct line proved unfruitful.
According to the ministry’s investigation, the man, who was initially believed to be a defector, accidentally drifted across the de facto sea border Sunday while he was picking clams along North Korea’s western coast near the border. He claims he failed to notice that he sailed into South Korean waters.
Since the war between the Koreas ended in an armistice, any trip across the countries borders requires government approval.