A US citizen is facing trial in North Korea for coup charges after entering the country legally as a tourist last year. The tourist, Pae Jun Ho, entered North Korea on November 3.
Pae, who is known in the United States as Kenneth Bae, was detained soon after he arrived on charges that he attempted to overthrow the North’s government. KCNA, the official news agency for North Korea, added that Pae apparently admitted the charges.
KCNAstated in a report on Saturday, “The preliminary inquiry into crimes committed by American citizen Pae Jun-Ho closed. In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with hostility toward it.”
The report added that “his crimes were proved by evidence.” It is believed that the US citizen is a tour operator of Korean descent. He was reportedly arrested after he arrived in Rason, an economic zone in the country’s north-east near the Russian border.
The agency added, “He will soon be taken to the Supreme Court of the DPRK to face judgement.” So far, Washington, D.C., has not publicly commented on the latest development in the US citizen’s arrest. The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations.
However, the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang looks after US interests in the country. The embassy sent people to visit Pae recently. It is not known what Pae’s exact charges are, or how long he could face in jail if convicted. North Korea has arrested and released several US citizens in the past, including journalists and Christians who were accused of proselytism.
The announcement of an indictment against the US citizen jailed in North Korea comes just one month after the North threatened nuclear war against South Korea and the United States. In the weeks since, Pyongyang has released propaganda videos and moved several missiles into firing positions.