US Reporters Languish in North Korea

Regime shuts out diplomats, refuses dialog with Washington
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2009 7:17 AM CDT
Pro-U.S. and anti-North Korea protesters hold pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in front of Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – While media and diplomatic pressure on Iran seems to have won the release of Roxana Saberi, two other reporters held captive in North Korea for nearly two months are receiving far less attention, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plight of Euna Lee and Laura Ling has been overshadowed by the North's missile launch, and diplomats aren't making progress with a regime that has grown increasingly intransigent.

North Korea, which has ratcheted up the hostility since Kim Jong-Il's still-mysterious illness last fall, has refused to allow Lee and Ling access to American representatives—a crime under international law—and go-betweens say that the North has made no attempt to negotiate. Analysts say hardline military figures gained power during Kim's illness, further hardening its opposition to diplomacy.