N. Korea Sentences Two US Journalists To 12 Years Hard Labor
Laura Ling (r) and Euna Lee (l) are being used as pawns in what former UN Ambassador and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson calls “a high stakes poker game,” as North Korea ramps up hostilities with the United States. Ling and Lee report for Al Gore’s Current TV, and President Obama says he will use “all possible channels” to gain their release. The women are accused of “hostility toward the Korean people.”
There are fears Pyongyang is using the women as bargaining chips as the U.N. debates a new resolution to punish the country for its defiant May 25 atomic test and as North Korea seeks to draw Washington into direct negotiations.
Lee is Korean-American and lives in California with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. Ling is Chinese-American and also from California; her sister is National Geographic Explorer TV journalist Lisa Ling.
Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul’s Dongguk University, said the 12-year sentence – the maximum allowed under North Korean law – may have been a reaction to recent “hard-line” threats by the U.S., including possible sanctions and putting North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
But he predicted the journalists’ eventual release following diplomatic negotiations.
“The sentence doesn’t mean much because the issue will be resolved diplomatically in the end,” Kim said.
North Korea is angry that the UN censured Pyongyang for launching missile tests in defying international will. It’s likely they’ll use Ling and Lee and bargaining chips to obtain aid and other concessions from the US.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 Liberaland