SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's foreign ministry on Saturday accused Japan of committing a "gangster" act of sinking its fishing ship "normally" operating in the East Sea earlier this week.
The ship collided with a Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol ship at around 9 a.m. Monday in Daehwatoe, located about halfway between North Korea's east coast and Japan's lower west coast. It then sank, but all of the crew, totaling around 60, were rescued.
Japanese officials announced that the collision was caused by a sharp turn by the North Korean boat, which was checked by the agency's ship while illegally fishing in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
Pyongyang, however, described it as a "gangster act of sinking our fishing vessel which was on a normal navigation in the waters of East Sea of Korea."
Speaking to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson said the safety of the country's crew members faced a "serious threat" at that time.
"Japan is impatiently trying to justify its deliberate act, and it even acts like a guilty party filing the suit first," the spokesperson said. "We strongly demand that the Japanese government compensate for the infliction of the material damage by sinking our vessel and that it work out steps to prevent a recurrence of such incident."
If such an incident occurs again, Japan will face an "undesirable consequence," the official added, according to KCNA.