Tuesday, March 31, 2009

North Korea Putting U.S. Journalists On Trial For Spying

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Tuesday that it would put on trial for "hostile acts" two U.S. journalists arrested earlier this month on its border with China.

The planned trial comes as tension mounts over North Korea's planned rocket launch in the next few days, which it says is to send a communications satellite into space but which the United States and others say is to test a long-range missile that could carry a warhead as far as U.S. territory.

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

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

"The organ is carrying on its investigation and, at the same time, making a preparation for indicting them at a trial on the basis of the already confirmed suspicions."
It added that while the investigation is underway, the reporters would be allowed consular access and treated according to international laws.

"We have seen (the report) and are still in the process of working diplomatically ... to achieve a favorable outcome," U.S. State Department spokesman Fred Lash said , declining further comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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