The Washington Post has an article from Blaine Harden in the Washington Post Foreign Service titled “North Korea Puts Two U.S. Journalists on Trial” that reports that television reporter Laura Ling along with television reporter Euna Lee are scheduled to go on trial this afternoon, June 4, in North Korea.
The charges that they face are trumped up and include illegally entering North Korea and committing unspecified “hostile acts.”
North Korea usually doesn’t give any information about their actions but they did release the information about the trials.
North Korea has been involved in a morass of manic activity that has included firing a long-range missile into the Pacific Ocean in April; they detonated an underground bomb in May and it seems they are preparing to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach Alaska.
Further, they have declared the 1953 truce ending the Korean War null and void and have threatened war against South Korea.
The interesting thing is that this has all been done not only against the wishes of the U.N. Security Council but also their usual allies Russia and China.
Leader Kim Jong is in poor health and as a result the country of North Korea is looking at a possible change of leadership with all the accompanying problems. Ling was allowed to make a call to her sister after North Korea exploded the underground device. Her sister indicated she was very scared.
However, from many experts’ point of view, North Korea is acting the way they usually do; they are following their usual pattern.
They have a habit of pushing issues to the brink and then using something to ease tensions.
In the case of Laura Ling’s call she told her sister that the only way she would be released was if the countries of the U.S. and North Korea “communicated.”
American reporters are common hostages and it is known by North Korea that the U.S. doesn’t like to see human life lost on the basis of political squabbles so they are pretty confident when it comes to blackmailing us.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee face up to ten years of hard labor if found guilty.
Back in 1980 the use of Iranian hostages essentially forced President Jimmy Carter from the presidential race. He was intent on seeing the American hostages freed from Iran.
It doesn’t matter whether or not North Korea talks at this point or not. They are a world-wide “loose cannon” and should be feared as well as watched.