Monday, June 8, 2009

North Korea Bans Ships off Coast, Sentences Journalists to 12 Years

Following last weeks hostile weapons test, North Korea has continued to defy global standards for peace and common decency.

Two American journalists have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country, which the state-run media of North Korea refers to as a "grave crime." The journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, have been held since their arrest some three months ago and will be transferred to their prison within the next 10 days. Ling's sister, Lisa Ling, is known for her television journalism on the National Geographic's Explorer program. Although a handful of NGO's are exercising every possible route to secure the journalists release or a less sever sentence, North Korea does not have a court of appeals and the United States does not have diplomatic relations with the country's government.

According to Dongguk University's professor Kim Yong-hyun's statements to the Mercury News, it is likely that both of the journalists will eventually be released due to diplomatic pressures.

Further exacerbating tensions, the North Korean government has ordered all fishing and shipping vessels to avoid their coastline, a sign that suggests that they plan on testing further missiles some time in the near future.

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