The US citizen detained in North Korea will be held on trial and may be sentenced to years of hard labor or even death penalty.
North Korean state media maintains that Kenneth Bae, the US citizen who entered North Korea in November last year, was caught with ‘evidence’ that showed he was involved in plotting against the DPRK regime. Though the north is insistent that Bae is a conspirator, South Korean activists claim that the U.S. man is a tour operator who entered North Korea in order to highlight the humanitarian issues the country is facing amid the war threats and nuclear tests. The South is of the opinion that DPRK held the man because he had photographic evidence of North Korea’s deteriorating side.
There have been many instances before when U.S. citizens were detained in North Korea but were released after top level negotiations. The trial of Kenneth Bae, though, is garnering a lot of attention and concern because of the recent ‘nuclear’ attitude North Korea has shown towards the United States over the past few months. The North has been very obvious about its anti-American stance soon after joint military drills between the South and the U.S. began in March.
Earlier in January, a US delegation to North Korea including Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson tried to visit Kenneth Bae in prison, but they were not permitted to do so.
The reason behind Bae’s prolonged detention and possible death penalty case in North Korea is being considered as added pressure on Washington and the UN to take back its nuclear sanctions. We cannot be sure whther this strategy will work for North Korea as U.S. has not yet responded to Kenneth Bae’s trial and punishment threats.