Online media network Current TV has so far remained deafeningly silent over the arrests of two of its reporters, Chinese-American Laura Ling and Korean-American Euna Lee, who were detained by the North Korean military earlier this month after crossing the border between China and North Korea while they were reporting on refugees fleeing poverty. Reports about the arrests surfaced last week, when the NY Times reported the detention.
This morning CET, news agency Reuters followed up with a report that the two have now been moved to the capital Pyongyang and are being interrogated there, quoting a source from Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo. The article is also available in English on the newspaper’s website.
“A South Korean source said that after the capture, U.S. intelligence officials asked South Korea for cooperation in gathering facts about the detention of Korean-American Euna Lee and Chinese-American Laura Ling, who work for Current TV. The United States tried to no avail to negotiate with the North before the incident leaked to the media. The source said the American government had very little information on the status of the two journalists and on the North’s follow-up actions. Other than contacting the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang for communication, the U.S. took little action. Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with North Korea.”
The article goes on to say the two journalists crossed the Tumen River, bordering China and North Korea, acting on their “journalistic urge for a scoop”, together with an American camera man and a Chinese guide (the latter two were arrested by Chinese authorities). The two women could be facing charges for espionage, a felony that could result in a minimum of 20 years imprisonment in North Korea, but it seems more likely they will be released as a sort of goodwill gesture on the part of North Korea, at least according to the sources linked above.
We’ve contacted Current TV, which was co-founded and backed by former US Vice President Al Gore, in search for more information and / or an official statement.
(Picture credit: Yonhap, via Associated Press)