Published: Monday, May 6, 2013

N Korea refuses to negotiate over jailed American

Lays out conditions for reviving

North Korea said yesterday it would not invite any leading US figure to seek the release of a jailed American and he would not become a “bargaining chip” in any political negotiations.
“Some media of the US said that the DPRK (North Korea) tried to use Pae’s case as a political bargaining chip. This is a ridiculous and wrong guess,” a foreign ministry spokesman told the official KCNA news agency.
“The DPRK has no plan to invite anyone of the US as regards Pae’s issue.”
The North said Thursday it had sentenced Pae, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, to 15 years’ hard labour for “hostile acts” aimed at toppling the communist regime at a trial on April 30.
The Korean-American tour operator was arrested in November as he entered the northeastern port city of Rason.
Several Americans have been held in the North in recent years, and been freed after visits by high-profile Americans such as former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
In 2010 Carter negotiated the release of US citizen Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was sentenced to eight years’ hard labour for illegally entering the country.
In 2009 Clinton managed to free US television journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, also jailed for an illegal border crossing.