N. Korea Axes Talks on US Prisoner Over 'Blackmail'
US envoy's trip called off
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2013 3:12 AM CDT
This 2011 family photo shows Kenneth Bae.    (AP Photo/Courtesy Terri Chung, File)

(Newser) – North Korea has withdrawn its invitation to a US envoy to visit the country over a detained American because Washington perpetrated a "grave provocation" by allegedly mobilizing nuclear-capable bombers during military drills with Seoul that ended Friday. Analysts say the move signals that possible informal negotiations between the two countries over Kenneth Bae are not going smoothly, with Pyongyang likely seeking some concessions from Washington in return for releasing him.

Bob King, the US special envoy for North Korean human rights, had been scheduled to travel to Pyongyang this week for talks on Bae, a 45-year-old tour operator and Christian missionary who has been detained since November for committing "hostile acts." Bae was hospitalized last month with serious health problems. A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman says the US "beclouded the hard-won atmosphere of humanitarian dialogue in a moment" by allegedly infiltrating B-52H strategic bombers into the sky above the peninsula during military exercises, using "the most blatant nuclear blackmail against us."

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Sep 3, 2013 9:15 AM CDT
Axes or asks?...LOL
Sep 2, 2013 12:14 PM CDT
The reasons for which he's being held... On November 3, 2012, Bae was traveling with five European tourists in Rajin-guyok, Rason, North Korea when officials discovered that he was carrying a computer hard disk that contained pictures of starving North Korean orphans. He was prosecuted by North Korea on several charges: Planning an anti-North Korean religious coup d'état. Admitting to setting up bases in China for the purpose of toppling the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Encouraging North Korean citizens to bring down the government. Conducting a "malignant" smear campaign. On April 30, 2013, North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced Bae to 15 years hard labor.
Sep 2, 2013 8:35 AM CDT
Any excuse to stretch this out and get more concession from the U.S.