Monday, April 18, 2011

Korean American Jun Young-Su held in North Korean for missionary work

North Korea has said it would charge an American detained last November with crimes against the nation, amid reports he was engaged in missionary work in the hardline communist state.

A man identified as Jun Young-Su has been investigated "for committing a crime against the DPRK (North Korea) after entering it", the official news agency said without specifying the offense. "He admitted his crime in the course of investigation," it said, adding officials were preparing to bring charges.

A source in Seoul identified the man as a Korean-American businessman in his 60s who was detained for missionary work. The man, who attends a church in Orange County, California, travelled frequently to the North. The source told AFP, "It looks like the North had been watching the missionary for quite some time and arrested him for a political bargaining chip at what it thought was a suitable time to take advantage of him."

This is the third apparent case in less than a year of a US Christian activist being detained in the North. Missionary Robert Park was held on Christmas Day 2009, after walking across the border to make a one-man protest about human rights violations.On January 25, 2010, the North detained Aijalon Mahli Gomes for crossing the border illegally and sentenced him to eight years' hard labor.

Former President Jimmy Carter is due to visit North Korea again soon, reportedly late this month. Jo Sung-Rae of the Seoul-based Christian activist group Pax Koreana predicted the former US leader would also secure the release of the latest detainee.

Carter has said he would try to revive stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear disarmament and address humanitarian woes during his visit.

[Yahoo News]

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