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DPRK to try US journalists as launch nears

[ 2009-04-01 13:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said yesterday it would put on trial two US journalists arrested last month on its border with China.

It accused the two women reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee from the US-based media outlet Current TV, of unspecified "hostile acts".

Pyongyang's announcement comes just days before it plans to put a satellite into space. Washington and others say it will be a test of a long-range missile.

The reporters were arrested two weeks ago by the Tumen River, which runs along the east side of the border between the DPRK and China.

"The illegal entry of US reporters into the DPRK and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements, according to the results of an intermediary investigation conducted by a competent organ of the DPRK," Pyongyang's KCNA news agency said.

"The organ is carrying on its investigation and, at the same time, making preparations for indicting them at a trial on the basis of the already confirmed suspicions."

KCNA said the reporters would be allowed consular access and treated according to international laws. The United States has no diplomatic relations with the DPRK and uses the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to act as its mediator on such issues.

A US State Department spokesman said Washington was trying to solve the problem through diplomatic channels.

Peter Beck, a Korean affairs specialist at the American University in Washington, said the arrests could provide a means for Pyongyang and Washington to talk to each other.

Beck said he expected Stephen Bosworth, Washington's envoy for the DPRK, to be dispatched in the weeks after the launch to secure the release of the two women.

"After the test and some hand wringing, we (the United States) will grope our way back to the table. But we really don't know if the North is serious about negotiating at this point. It looks like they aren't," he said.

The DPRK says the launch will be between April 4-8.

Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are deploying missile-interceptor ships in the area and the United States deployed missile-interceptor ships from the ROK on Monday without offering details of their mission. The three said they would shoot down the rocket only if it threatened their territory.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

DPRK to try US journalists as launch nears

About the broadcaster:

DPRK to try US journalists as launch nearsBernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.