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N. Korea holding 516 S. Korean detainees: report


SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is estimated to be detaining 516 South Koreans who have been taken by the communist country after the Armistice Agreement halting the Korean War was signed in July 1953, a government report showed Monday.

The findings submitted by the Ministry of Unification to Rep. Choung Byoung-gug ahead of the parliamentary audit, showed Pyongyang having held a total of 3,835 people in the past six decades, with 3,319 having been returned home or escaped.

Of the total, 457 were fishermen, making the bulk of South Korean detainees, with 11 being from the ill-fated Korean Air Lines propeller passenger plane that was hijacked in December 1969.

The ministry in charge of managing all inter-Korean relations also said there were 30 South Korean soldiers and policemen held by Pyongyang.

The ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker said the ministry stressed it is approaching the detainee issue as a top priority and a critical humanitarian concern that requires continued dialogue with the North.

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