North Korea releases detained Chinese sailors

North Korea has released 16 Chinese fishermen and their boat, Chinese state-run media said Tuesday, after reports that armed assailants had taken the sailors hostage.

"All the fishermen with the boat are safe on their way back," Xinhua news agency said, citing a Chinese embassy official in Pyongyang it said had heard the news from the shipowner. The fishermen had been detained "by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea side", it added.