Beijing: Unidentified North Koreans have captured almost 29 Chinese fishermen and have demanded a ransom for their release, according to Chinese media.
A gunboat captured the fishermen on May 08 in the Yellow Sea, The BBC reports.
The captors had asked for payment by Thursday for the release of the men and boats.
The Foreign Ministry of China has said that it was in touch with North Korean authorities and hoped to resolve the situation soon.
"We urged the North Korean side to guarantee the legal rights of the Chinese fishermen," the ministry’s spokesman Hong Lei said.
He, however, refused to confirm if the payment being demanded was a ransom.
Pyongyang has not commented on the incident.
The owners of the boats have been reported as saying that the men were fishing in Chinese waters when the incident took place.
One of the owners of the boats, Zhang Dechang, said that he captors included both North Koreans and Chinese.
``They had guns; no one resisted. The captured fishermen have been locked in a small house, with no food to eat,`` he said.
China is North Korea`s closest ally. But the Yellow Sea, home to rich marine life, has been bone of contention between China and the two Koreas.