North Korea’s sentencing of two US journalists to hard labor further complicates relations between the nations, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The White House seeks tougher UN sanctions against North Korea after it tested a nuclear bomb last month, and experts say the sentences’ timing is no coincidence. “Undoubtedly the North Koreans view [the journalists] as a trump card,” one says.
However, observers say negotiations discussing both the journalists and nuclear issues are unlikely, and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made matters worse by publicly contemplating putting North Korea back on list of terrorist sponsors. Another possibility: Bringing Al Gore, chairman on the journalists’ TV station, to the negotiating table. “Given Al Gore’s ties with Current TV, that would make a good deal of sense,” an expert says.