Monday, May 18, 2009

Swedes meet detained US journalists in North Korea

The Swedish ambassador to North Korea met two detained US journalists on Friday, the first such contact in six weeks, according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, who gave no details of their condition.

The two women were working on a story about refugees fleeing the hardline communist North.

Analysts say Pyongyang is using the pair as a bargaining chip to open direct talks with Washington, which has participated in six-country negotiations aimed at scrapping North Korea's nuclear programs. An American diplomat said Sunday that North Korea must release two journalists before a U.S. envoy visits Pyongyang to revive stalled talks.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking to reporters on Thursday, considers the June 4th trial date for the journalists as a positive sign. "We believe that the charges are baseless and should not have been brought and these two young women should be released immediately," she said.

No comments: