Thursday, March 19, 2009

American Journalists Held by North Korea

Two American journalists and their Korean guide are being detained by North Korean border guards after filming a portion of a report on human trafficking of N. Korean refugees. Via ABC News:
Two American television journalists have been detained by the North Korean army at the Tumen River area near Yanji, China. The State Department confirmed to ABC News that the pair were in China when they were detained and brought into North Korea.

"We are aware through reliable channels on the morning of March 17, that two American citizens were taken into custody across the Tumen River from China into North Korea by what appeared to be North Korean border guards," said State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside.

"We are working with the Chinese government in the area to get information on the whereabouts and welfare of the Americans in question. We have also been in touch with North Korean authorities to express our deep concern about this situation. We have also been in touch with our protecting power, the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang," she said.

[. . .]

The Rev. Chun Ki-Won, a human rights activist leading the Seoul-based Durihana Mission, told ABC News by telephone from New York that three journalists working for Current TV, a cable television network based in California, were in northern China to do a story on human trafficking of North Korean refugees.

He says he was informed that Laura Ling, a Chinese-American, and Euna Lee, a Korean-American, were detained in North Korea with their guide who is ethnic Korean of Chinese nationality. Current TV journalist Mitch Koss is reportedly safe.

"They came to me and I helped them find a group of North Korean refugees who have been kidnapped, enslaved and traded in the notorious black market in China," said Chun, who has helped thousands of North Korean refugees seek asylum in South Korea and the United States.

Prayers for the safe return of the journalists and for the victims of human trafficking they risked their lives to report on.

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