Paging Bill Richardson
First I heard that my acquaintance Euna Lee was captured at the border by North Korea. Then I heard she was headed to Pyongyang. And now I hear that they are putting her on trial.
SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea is preparing to indict two detained US journalists after it accused them of illegally entering the communist country, state media said early Tuesday.
"The illegal entry of US reporters into the DPRK and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The report said "a competent organ of the DPRK (North Korea)" had investigated the pair.
"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," the report said.
The pair, Euna Lee, a Korean-American, and Laura Ling, a Chinese-American, who work for Current TV in California, would be allowed consular access and would be treated according to international law, it added.
This could not have come at a better time for the North Koreans, just when they are forcing a confrontation over what they term a satellite launch but which the international community considers a missile test. Obviously they are using Lee and Ling as bait so they can continue their launch without American interference.
There is really only one man for this job.
Pyongyang has in the past freed Americans it has detained.
In 1996, former US congressman Bill Richardson negotiated the release of US citizen Evan Hunziker, who had been detained for three months on suspicion of spying after swimming the Yalu river.
Richardson, who is now the governor of New Mexico, at the time described Hunziker as a confused young man who had engaged in an "adventuresome frolic apparently under the influence of alcohol."
In 1994, Richardson helped negotiate the release of a US military helicopter pilot shot down after straying into North Korea.
Dear Bill Richardson,
You are wanted in Pyongyang.