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article imageAmerican Journalists Captured by North Koreans on Chinese Border

By Leo Reyes     Mar 28, 2009 in Politics
The North Koreans have reportedly captured two American journalists in the Chinese border town of Yanji in the early morning hours a few days ago as they travel past the border.
Two American Journalists were captured last t week on the North Korean-Chinese border of Yanji.
Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee of the San Francisco-based Current TV were believed nabbed by North Korean border guards last week in the early morning hours as they travel past the border.
A Chinese guide and another western companion were reported to be with the women when they were accosted by the North Koreans. The Chinese guide and the other companion were able to get back to the Chinese territory.
The North Koreans do not allow journalist into the communist country without being invited by the government. Foreign journalists who are invited into the country must abide by the rules which keep on changing, according to Andre Lankov, a North Korean expert.
Lankov said that foreign journalists are allowed only when they are invited and he explained that:
'Cell phones and GPS's are a no-no; trips to the countryside without permission are almost always forbidden, with the occasional but rare exception. Most journalists are shepherded by a guide wherever they go, which is usually to view monuments of Kim Jong il and his deceased dad. They are told to shy away from asking citizens political questions'. While residents of Pyongyang are less afraid to interact with foreigners than, say, a decade ago, they "won't speak to journalists without permission,"
Time-CNN reports:
Observers expect the two American reporters now being detained for "illegally intruding" into the North will become a pawn to be used by Pyongyang at an opportune political moment. And with Pyongyang's internationally unpopular missile-satellite launch in the pipeline, analysts would be surprised to see the duo return home in the coming days. Pyongyang might also want to send a clear signal to other journalists that it won't tolerate any lurking around its border.
North Korean is presently preparing for a satellite launch which was earlier announced to take place on April 4-8. The rocket has reportedly been moved to its launch pad in preparation for the actual launching as Japan warned of serious consequences and threatened to shoot the rocket on sight in its air space.
It could not be ascertained if the snatching of the two American journalists is connected to the on-going feud between North Korea and the US on the impending rocket launch. The US and Japan said that North Korea will be violating a UN resolution prohibiting Pyongyang from launching the rocket.
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