SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Sunday that it will not invite any U.S. figures to Pyeongang to seek the release of a jailed Korean-American, as he is not a "political bargaining chip" in any talks with Washington.
"The DPRK (North Korea) has no plan to invite anyone of the U.S. as regards the issue," a foreign ministry spokesman told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in an English dispatch monitored in Seoul.
The North earlier announced that its highest court sentenced Kenneth Bae, whose Korean name is Bae Joon-ho, to 15 years of hard labor for committing crimes against the nation. A brief dispatch by the North's official news agency gave no further specifics.
"Some media of the U.S. said that the DPRK tried to use the case as a political bargaining chip. This is ridiculous and wrong guess," the spokesman added.
Bae, a U.S. citizen based in China, was arrested in North Korea in November after entering the nation with a group of tourists. Some reports say he was serving as a tour operator, while others say he worked as a Christian missionary.
The U.S. government has been trying to win the release of Bae and urging Pyongyang to grant him amnesty.
Several American citizens were detained in North Korea on similar charges in the past, but all were freed, largely unharmed.
In 2009, former U.S. President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang to bring home two female American journalists.
The following year, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter won plaudits when he negotiated the release of American national Aijalon Mahli Gomes.
Recent media reports said that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter may be seeking an active role in the release of Kenneth Bae. His spokesman, however, said Friday said the former president has no plans to visit North Korea anytime soon.
- Future of Kaesong industrial complex in doubt over escalating tensions
- N. Korea in tug of war over dialogue terms with S. Korea, U.S.
- Park, Obama face crucial test on chemistry amid N.K. headache
- (News Focus) N. Korea's hacking capabilities advance
- N. Korea's hacking capabilities advance
- (News Focus) N. Korea ratchets up tension by restricting Kaesong operations
- N. Korea cautious in choosing timing for any attack: U.S. experts
- N. Korea fueling tensions to seek diplomatic solution: sources
- N. Korea's state-sponsored hackers emerge as global threat
- Three years after naval vessel sinking, N. Korea poses greater security threat
- N.K. leader's front-line inspections fuel military clash concerns
- N. Korea threatens war in defiance of U.N. resolution
- 'Strongest sanctions' on NK, output of artful U.N. diplomacy
- China holds key to implementing U.N. sanctions against N. Korea
- N. Korea again resorts to brinkmanship to put pressure on U.S.
- U.S. aim of denuclearizing N. Korea in question
- Park vows 'trust-building' with N. Korea despite nuke brink
- Park faces key tasks on relations with N. Korea, regional powers
- All eyes on China for tougher sanctions against nuclear N. Korea
- Nuke test stirs debate on how to handle N. Korea's WMD program
- Obama's N. Korea policy put to crucial test again
- (NK N-test) N. Korea's nuke test jeopardizing inter-Korean relations
- Nuke test aims to solidify Kim's control, take upper hand in int'l arena
- N. Korea's nuke test presents major security challenge for Park, Obama
- N. Korea's nuke test feared to foil Park's overture of engagement: experts
- N. Korea's nuclear tension overshadows new gov't in Seoul
- N. Korea ramps up threat of another nuclear test
- U.N. action on N. Korea late yet meaningful: official
- In second term, Obama faces tough issues with Seoul
- Inter-Korean relations effectively severed under Lee administration
Home > NorthKorea