The two men were captured late last week after their squid fishing boat crossed the eastern sea border separating North and South Korea, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.
South Korea's expulsion of two North Korean fishermen set a bad precedent that has spread fears in the North Korean defector community and could lend legitimacy to its widely criticised judicial system, defectors and activists said on Friday. Lee Sang-min, the ministry of the spokesperson said that South Korea has taken the decision to expel the two fishermen to North Korea because they were criminals who could not be recognized as refugees under global laws.
South Korean intelligence sources say the men were angry over being mistreated by the captain, on a fishing expedition that began in August.
The fishermen didn't stop there, they killed other crew members shortly after that.More news: Act Fast: Target Launches 2-Day Pre-Black Friday Sale
"The whole story doesn't quite make sense because the South Korean government at this point should really make available the full information about whatever investigation and questioning they engaged in with these North Korean men before they sent them back", said Robertson. One was arrested by police back at Kimchaek Port, while the other two mutineers escaped back to sea.
The Vigilant Ace drills had involved hundreds of South Korean and USA aircraft before the allies suspended them past year.
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the joint security area of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone near Paju, South Korea.
The move to deport them is highly unusual, as South Korea has a policy of accepting North Koreans who want to resettle in the South to avoid political oppressions and poverty at home.More news: Pakistan corridor set to open for Sikh pilgrims
"The fact that two human beings can be issued a death sentence in South Korea in three days is deeply, deeply troubling".
Most North Koreans who flee do so via China, which has the longer border with North Korea.
William Byrne said at a press briefing that the combined flying event will be smaller than the Vigilant Ace exercise, which was suspended a year ago to support diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
A trio of North Korean fishermen slaughtered 16 fellow crew individuals - at the side of their captain, officers mentioned Thursday.More news: ICC sentences Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in jail
"The problem, frankly, is that the South Korean government has continuously failed to take North Korean human rights seriously".