North Korea announced today that an American detained for nearly six months is being tried in the Supreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, a crime that could draw the death penalty if he is convicted. The case involving Kenneth Bae, who has been in North Korean custody since early November, further complicates already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington following weeks of heightened rhetoric and tensions.
Bae was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea's far northeastern region bordering China and Russia, according to official state media. In North Korean dispatches, Bae, a Korean American, is called Pae Jun Ho, the North Korean spelling of his Korean name. "In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK (North Korea) with hostility toward it," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said. "His crimes were proved by evidence. He will soon be taken to the Supreme Court of the DPRK to face judgment."