Two reporters for former vice presdient Al Gore’s SF-based Current TV, Euna Lee and Laura Ling (sister of actress Lisa Ling), have been indicted by North Korea on charges of illegal entry and will stand trial, according to North Korea’s state-run news agency.
“The illegal entry of U.S. reporters into the DPRK and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements,” the report said.
The two have now been held for two weeks.
They were in an area near the Tumen River where North Korean refugees frequently cross into China to flee the poverty and oppression of North Korea.
As reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap News, the two journalists were detained by North Korean soldiers as they were filming near the border for a television show. Reportedly, the journalists refused to follow the soldiers’ orders to stop filming the North Korean side of the border. A guide assisting the journalists was also taken into custody by the North Koreans.
The arrests come at a time when tensions are high. North Korea says it will shoot its first satellite into space later this year, a move that could result in that country developing a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.
Meanwhile a Swedish envoy gained access to Ling and Lee.
“An official of the Swedish Embassy met with each journalist individually,” said Gordon Duguid, a department spokesman, according to Bloomberg. Sweden represents U.S. diplomatic interests in Pyongyang in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
The State Department said last week the North Koreans had assured U.S. officials that the pair would be treated well.