Yonhap Reports: Bill Clinton to North Korea

Yonhap News Agency reports that Bill Clinton is heading to North Korea to negotiate release of two American journalists.  The White House has no comment for the moment.  

KCNA’s (Korean Central News Agency) website is mute for the moment on the topic, but KCNA announced via radio that Clinton had arrived in Pyongyang.  Yesterday the North Korean news contained a short post calling for  Lee Myung Bak to “ensure the people’s vital and democratic rights and release all the prisoners of conscience if he is truly willing to serve the people,” which might be interpreted as related.  

On June 16, KCNA released its most detailed description so far regarding the journalists:

KCNA Detailed Report on Truth about Crimes Committed by American Journalists

Pyongyang, June 16 (KCNA) — The Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday released a detailed report laying bare the facts about the crimes committed by the American journalists who were arrested for having illegally trespassed into the border of the DPRK and committed hostile acts against it for which they were tried.

According to it, at dawn of March 17 unidentified two men and two women covertly crossed the River Tuman to intrude into its bank of the DPRK side in Kangan-ri, Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province. The two women were arrested on the spot. 

The arrestees were confirmed to be Chinese-American Laura Ling, 32, correspondent of the Current TV, and south Korean-American Seung-Un Lee, 36, editor of the Current TV.

The investigation proved that the intruders crossed the border and committed the crime for the purpose of making animation files to be used for an anti-DPRK smear campaign over its human rights issue.

The preliminary investigation proved that they had a confab on producing and broadcasting a documentary slandering the DPRK with Mitch Koss, executive producer of programming of the Current TV, David Neuman, president of programming, and David Harleston, head of the Legal Department of Current TV, and other men in Los Angeles, U.S. in January.

A trial of the accused was held at the Pyongyang City Court from June 4 to 8.

At the trial the accused admitted that what they did were criminal acts committed, prompted by the political motive to isolate and stifle the socialist system of the DPRK by faking up moving images aimed at falsifying its human rights performance and hurling slanders and calumnies at it.

In the name of the DPRK the Central Court determined ten years of hard labor according to Provision 69 of the Criminal Code and four years of hard labor according to Provision 233 of the Criminal Code for the accused Laura Ling and Seung-Un Lee and sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor according to Provision 44 of the Criminal Code.

The prison term is counted from March 22, 2009, when the accused were detained and it was pronounced that the judgment is unappealable.

The criminals admitted and accepted the judgment.

We are following with a high degree of vigilance the attitude of the U.S. which spawned the criminal act against the DPRK.