North Korea has announced that it will try an American held prisoner since November for "crimes" against the state. Of Korean descent, Kenneth Bae is the sixth American detained in the country since 2009.
Identified in state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, the 44-year-old tour operator had visited the city of Rason, in a special economic zone bordering China and Russia, as part a group of five last November and has been held by police since then. North Korea announced on Saturday that it would soon put Bae on trial for trying to overthrow the government.
"In the process of investigation, he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it," the state news agency KCNA reported, using the North's official title of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "His crimes were proved by evidence," KCNA reported, adding he would soon be taken to the Supreme Court "to face judgment".
After diplomatic interventions, North Korea eventually deported the other Americans arrested with Bae. Former UN ambassador Bill Richardson delivered a letter regarding the matter to officials during a trip to North Korea in January, although he was unable to meet with Bae.
In February, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon. After the resulting UN sanctions, the country has stepped up threats against South Korea and the United States.
mkg/dr (AFP, Reuters, AP)