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N Korea says it will indict US citizen

27 April 2013, 08:39

Pyongyang - North Korea said on Saturday it will soon put a detained American on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the government, further complicating already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

The indictment of Kenneth Bae comes in the middle of something of a lull after weeks of war threats and other provocative acts by North Korea against the US and South Korea.

It has expressed rage over UN sanctions over a February nuclear test and ongoing US-South Korean military drills, though analysts say Pyongyang's motive is to get its Korean War foes to negotiate on its own terms.

Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator of Korean descent who was arrested after arriving with a tour on 3 November in Rason, a special economic zone bordering China and Russia.

He is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009.

The other Americans were eventually deported or released after high-profile diplomatic interventions, including some involving former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Analysts say the North will likely soon hand Bae a harsh punishment to use him as a bargaining chip in possible negotiations with the United States.

"The preliminary inquiry into crimes committed by American citizen Pae Jun Ho closed," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief report.

"In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it.

"His crimes were proved by evidence."

- AP


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