Chinese Navy Craft's Crew Reportedly Defects to S. Korea

From Reuters

The crew of a Chinese vessel, described by Japanese news agencies as a naval craft, is seeking asylum in South Korea, a government source said today.

A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman declined to confirm the Japanese reports, which said there had been a mutiny on a torpedo boat off the west coast of South Korea.

In Peking, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the Chinese navy lost contact with a torpedo boat during a training mission.

"Now we are looking for it," she told Reuters in response to reports from South Korea that the crew of a Chinese ship was seeking asylum there.

She would not comment further.

Kyodo news agency said six crewmen were killed in the mutiny and two injured. It said the South Korean navy was towing the Chinese vessel to Kunsan, south of Seoul.

Jiji Press reported, meanwhile, that the crew was seeking political asylum in South Korea.

No other details were immediately available.

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