North Korea to put two detained Americans on trial
Two Americans who were arrested after entering North Korea in April will be tried for commiting "hostile acts" against that country, say authorities. "Their hostile acts were confirmed by evidence and their own testimonies," said the North's official news agency.
Jeffrey Fowle, a 56-year-old street repairs worker from Miamisburg, Ohio, was arrested after entering North Korea as a tourist in late April.
North Korea is one of the most isolated countries in the world, but its economic backwardness and political system is a draw for some Western visitors keen for a glimpse of life behind the last sliver of the Cold War's iron curtain.
A job application uncovered by the Dayton Daily News in Ohio said Fowle described himself as honest, friendly, and dependable.
Earlier reports in the paper said Fowle had previously traveled to Sarajevo, Bosnia and had a fascination with the former Soviet Union which led him to look for a Russian bride, whom he later married.
"Jeffrey loves to travel and loves the adventure of experiencing different cultures and seeing new places," said a statement from Fowle's family lawyer, released in early June.
"Mrs Fowle and the children miss Jeffrey very much, and are anxious for his return home," the statement said.
Little is known about fellow U.S. citizen Matthew Miller, who was taken into custody by North Korean officials after entering the country the same month whereupon he ripped up his tourist visa and demanded asylum, according to state media.
Miller was traveling alone, said a statement from Uri Tours, the travel agency that took the 24 year-old to North Korea, published on their website.
A spokesman for the New Jersey-based travel agency told Reuters Miller was in “good physical condition” and his parents were aware of the situation, but have chosen not to make any statement regarding their son's arrest.
In May, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory urging Americans not to travel to North Korea because of the "risk of arbitrary arrest and detention" even while holding valid visas.
I'm of a mind to let Mr. Miller rot. If he was stupid enough not to realize that the paranoid NoKos would reject his asylum bid as a trick to spy on them, he has lonly himself to blame for his predicament. That said, we don't know his mental condition nor the circumstances surrounding his bid for asylum. It is best that we try to bring him home along with thrillseeker, Mr. Fowle.
This is a modified form of hostage taking by North Korea. Not as blatant as the Iranians, but they take our people for the same reason; they want to trade. For North Korea, who need everything, food is usually the currency of choice.
If the NoKos remain true to form, they will convict the two Americans, give them long prison sentences, and then await the inevitable visit by an American do-gooder like Jimmy Carter or Rev. Jackson, who will smooth the way for negotiations and the release of the hostages a few weeks after.