Envoy meets jailed US reporters

US women jailed in North Korea visited by Swedish ambassador, US official says.

    The case has further stoked tensions between
    the US and North Korea [AFP]

    The journalists, who worked for the California-based Current TV, were detained by North Korean border guards on March 17 and put on trial behind closed doors earlier this month.

    On June 8, the pair were sentenced to 12 years of hard labour on charges of entering the North illegally and engaging in "hostile acts".

    Strained relations

    North Korea said the two reporters had crossed illegally to its side of the border with China, although other reports have suggested the two were on the Chinese side when they were arrested.

    The case has strained further already poor relations between the US and North Korea, following the secretive nation's nuclear test and several missile tests in May.

    US and Japanese sources have said that North Korea could fire its most advanced ballistic missile towards Hawaii around the July 4 Independence day holiday in the US.

    The US navy is also tracking a North Korean cargo ship off the coast of China which is believed to be carrying missiles and missile parts, the first such move under a new United Nations Security Council resolution which firms an earlier arms embargo and authorises ship searches.

    North Korea has said it would view any such searches as an act of war.

    Analysts say the women's sentences appeared unusually harsh and seemed to back up views that the journalists could be used as a bargaining chip by the North in its standoff with the US.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.