페이지 정보작성자 편집실 작성일16-04-29 21:45 조회1,647회 댓글1건
SEOUL, South Korea — An American who has been held in North Koreasince October was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor on Friday for spying and other offenses, Chinese and Japanese news agencies reported from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
The man, Kim Dong-chul, is the latest United States citizen to receive a harsh sentence in North Korea, which has often used the fates of Americans held there as leverage in dealing with Washington. His sentencing came a month and a half after North Korea sentenced an American college student, Otto F. Warmbier, to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal a political banner from his hotel in Pyongyang.
Mr. Kim’s sentence was handed down by North Korea’s Supreme Court, meaning that it is final and cannot be appealed. The verdict was reported by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency and the Japanese news service Kyodo, both of which have bureaus in Pyongyang. North Korea’s state media did not immediately carry the news.
The State Department in Washington has not explicitly confirmed Mr. Kim’s detention in North Korea, saying that discussing such cases publicly does not help its efforts to free Americans held in the North. But the North has released a copy of Mr. Kim’s American passport, and officials in South Korea said Mr. Kim was a Korean-born American citizen.
In March, Mr. Kim appeared at a government-arranged news conference in Pyongyang and apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans. The South Korean spy agency has denied any involvement in such a plan.
Mr. Kim’s predicament was not known until January, when the North Korean government allowed CNN to interview him in Pyongyang. At that time, Mr. Kim identified himself as a 62-year-old naturalized American citizen from Fairfax, Va., and said he used to run a trading and hotel services company in Rason, a special economic zone that North Korea operates near its borders with China and Russia.
He said he was arrested in October while meeting with one of his local sources, a former North Korean soldier, to receive classified data.
Over the years, North Korea has detained several Americans on accusations of illegal entry or spying and other so-called antistate crimes. It has often given them lengthy prison terms before eventually freeing them, sometimes after the arrival of high-profile visitors, like former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, from the United States.
Some of the foreign captives told reporters after their release that officials had coerced them into confessing to crimes at news conferences in Pyongyang.
Besides Mr. Kim and Mr. Warmbier, North Korea is holding a South Korean-born Canadian pastor, the Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo, who is serving a life sentence of hard labor on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.
(CNN)North Korea has sentenced a South Korean-born American citizen to 10 years of hard labor for subversion and espionage, a North Korean official told CNN.
Prosecutors were seeking a 15-year hard labor sentence for Kim Dong Chul for committing "offenses in a scheme to overthrow the socialist system of the DPRK," according to state-run news agency KCNA.
The defense asked that Kim's sentence be commuted, arguing "the crimes by the accused are very serious but he is old and may repent of his faults."
Friday's verdict was handed down by North Korea's Supreme Court.
The U.S. State Department said it is aware of the media reports about Kim's sentence.
"The welfare of U.S. citizens is one of the Department's highest priorities," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in an emailed statement.
"In cases where U.S. citizens are reported detained in North Korea, we work closely with the Swedish Embassy, which serves as the United States' Protecting Power in North Korea. We have no further comment due to privacy considerations."
Kim is the second American to receive a hard labor sentence from North Korea in the past two months.
A copy of Kim Dong Chul's passport provided by North Korea.
A copy of Kim Dong Chul's passport provided by North Korea.
In March, University of Virginia student Otto Frederick Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly removing a political banner from a Pyongyang hotel.
CNN's Will Ripley spoke to Kim in January, under the watch of North Korean officials. Kim told CNN he used to live in Fairfax, Virginia, and had been in detention for three months.
Exclusive: North Korea reveals U.S. prisoner to CNN
Kim said he moved to Yanji, a Chinese city near the Chinese-North Korean border that acts as a trade hub between the two countries, in 2001. From Yanji, Kim said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone on the North Korean side of the border, where he served as president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services.
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North Korea continues missile tests 01:54
According to Kim, he spied on behalf of "South Korean conservative elements" on the country's nuclear and military program.
"I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and 'scandalous' scenes," he said at the time.
"They asked me to help destroy the (North Korean) system and spread propaganda against the government."
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Kim's comments to CNN in January were made in the presence of North Korean officials and CNN cannot determine whether they were made under duress.
Like Kim, the University of Virginia student Warmbier also gave a confession to international media.
North Korea accuses Warmbier of taking the banner at the urging of a church member, the CIA and a secretive university organization.
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N. Korea sentences U.S. student to 15 years hard labor
N. Korea sentences U.S. student to 15 years hard labor 02:33
The detainment of Americans and other foreign citizens is interpreted by North Korea watchers as the collection of bargaining chips.
"It shows anyone or anything can be used as political, military or economic leverage," said Jasper Kim, director of Ewha University's Center for Conflict Management.
"I think the strategy by DPRK is to collect possible assets for leverage and basically, playing a game of geopolitical poker, unveiling cards strategically when they have the most value," he said, using an abbreviation for North Korea.
Kim, who was detained last October, was only revealed to have been held in January. He was sentenced a day after North Korea carried out two provocative -- but apparently failed -- missile tests.
"The beginning of the year is particularly strategic, typically a lot of things happen at that point: the joint military exercises between U.S. and ROK (South Korea), that occurs and this year in particular, Worker's Party congress which hasn't happened since 1980," Jasper Kim said.
What is the Worker's Party congress and why does it matter?
The "DPRK is definitely getting more aggressive, more erratic," he said.
CNN's Will Ripley, Chieu Luu, Sol Han and Elise Labott contributed to this report.