U.S. Female Reporters Face Trial in N. Korea

Over a month ago, on March 17, two US journalists working for the San Francisco-based CurrentTV, which is owned by former VP Al Gore, were arrested by Korean patrolmen for having allegedly crossed the China/North Korea border illegally. They were in the area on an assignment pertaining to North Korean refugees.

North Korea did not share many details regarding the arrest, saying only that the intention was to charge them with illegal entry and ‘hostile acts’ upon which they did not elaborate. Word spread that the two young women would be charged with gathering intelligence on behalf of the U.S.

Laura Ling and Euna Kim

The Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang just announced that North Korea followed the girls’ arrest with a formal investigation, which has ended with the decision to put them on trial. According to the short report from Pyongyang, the charges are being made based on confirmed criminal data, but what exactly the charges are is still a mystery. There has been no public update on where or under what conditions the journalists are being held.

If convicted of spying, the women face up to five years in prison.

U.S.-North Korea relations are less than perfect; there isn’t a U.S. diplomatic base in North Korea, and North Korea tested a new rocket on April 5, removed all international controls from their nuclear facilities with the intention to restart them, and wants out of disarmament talks. North Korea paid no heed to requests that the journalists be released, nor to those that the April 5 rocket launch be cancelled.

Speculation is that North Korea is holding American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Kim, so they can use them to their advantage in negotiations with the U.S.

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