World Bulletin / News Desk
The crew has been held since they were reportedly caught "illegally" operating in North Korean waters last Saturday.
Pyongyang's state-run media also claimed the fishermen trespassed deliberately, but they will be allowed to return to South Korea.
Officials "decided to repatriate the boat and its crew from the humanitarian point of view, taking into account the fact that all the crewmen honestly admitted their offence, repeatedly apologizing and asking for leniency," the North's KCNA news agency reported.
There were seven South Korean fishermen and three Vietnamese crew members on the captured vessel, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry, which will further investigate how the boat ended up in North Korean waters.
Pyongyang's “leniency” marks a break in tensions that have seen North Korea refuse to hold dialogue with Seoul since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May.
But the South routinely offers drifting North Korean fishermen the chance to decide their own fate -- to return or stay in South Korea.