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`2 Detained US Journalists Taken to Pyongyang`

Posted March. 23, 2009 03:20,   


Two American journalists detained by North Korea near the North`s border with China last week are known to have been moved to Pyongyang, sources said yesterday.

A source in Tumen, China, said Korean American Euna Lee and Chinese American Laura Ling, both of whom work for Current TV of the United States, are undergoing interrogation in the North Korean capital after being caught while crossing the border into the North.

It is extremely unusual for someone caught trying to cross the North Korean border to be taken to Pyongyang, the source said.

Since both journalists are U.S. citizens and given U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s interest in their plight, the North will likely decide whether to release them after negotiations with Washington, the source added.

“The North moved them to Pyongyang not just because of the gravity of the case but also because it wants to gain as much as possible from the incident,” the source noted, saying negotiations for their release could take longer than expected.

Another source denied reports that a U.S. cameraman and a Chinese guide who accompanied the two journalists were also arrested.

“They were not caught because they voluntarily reported to Chinese public security authorities after the female journalists were caught,” the source said. “A closed-circuit camera installed along the border area also shows they weren`t caught.”

The cameraman and the guide are free after undergoing questioning by Chinese authorities because they did not cross the border, the source said, adding it was their decision not to appear in public.

Many also denied that the journalists crossed the border by mistake. The place where they are thought to have crossed the border is hardly accessible unless they went there on purpose.

Therefore, the dominant view among residents in the area or those who are familiar with the situation is that the journalists could not have crossed the border “by mistake.”