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American Reporters Detained in North Korea

The women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, are to go on trial Thursday on spying charges.

"Our families have been quiet because the situation is very sensitive and we've been really trying to allow diplomacy to take its course," Lisa Ling, Laura's sister, said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday night. "But you know, you'd have to be hiding under a rock not to see what's going on in the Korean Peninsula.

"I mean tensions are so heated," she continued, "and the girls are essentially in the midst of this nuclear standoff."

The pair was reporting on the plight of North Korean defectors living along the border of China and North Korea when they were taken into custody on March 17.

North Korea said the reporters had entered the country illegally. The women were accused of "hostile acts" and charged with spying.

Until now, their families had not commented publicly, citing the sensitive nature of the case.



Asked by AprilDJC at 5:03 PM on Jun. 2, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (4)
  • I think they were very very close to the boarder reporting on refugees. I just wonder what NK will want in return for their release. But I fear that negotiations will take so long, that it will not be in time for the trial.

    Answer by dragonfly7271 at 2:01 AM on Jun. 3, 2009

  • Contact with the women has been extremely limited.

    The Swedish ambassador to North Korea was allowed to see the two journalists Monday, according to the U.S. State Department. Sweden represents the United States in North Korea because the two countries, which fought on opposite sides during the three-year Korean war in the 1950s, do not have diplomatic relations.

    The ambassador also met separately with the two journalists on March 30 and May 15.

    Despite the limited communication, the families say they've heard enough to know the women are "terrified" and "extremely scared."

    "While I am trying to remain hopeful, each day becomes harder and harder to bear," Ling wrote in the letter that her husband, Iain Clayton, read on "Larry King Live." "I am so lonely and scared. But baby, thinking of you gives me strength. You know I can feel you here with me."


    Answer by AprilDJC at 5:04 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • The mounting movement to free the women is reminiscent of the one waged for Roxana Saberi, an American journalist released by Iran last month after originally being sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage.

    Lisa Ling made a direct on-air appeal to North Korea in an effort to win the release of her sister and Lee.

    Question--do you think that the girls really entered North Korea illegally? If so, do you think they intended to? Their trial is coming up and they could be sentenced to many years in labor camps. I don't think there is any way N. Korea is going to just let them go. I really hope they are able to get out of there.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 5:06 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • Chances are if entering North Koorea they did do it illegally. Thats what alot of reporters do to get in. They have a good chance of being released if NK can get what they want.

    Answer by Carpy at 5:31 PM on Jun. 2, 2009