We have all witness numerous attempts by North Korea to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with from threats of war against South Korea to attacks on the United States with long range nuclear missiles, however the end result of these threats have left the North Korea with little bargaining power as the United Nations has sanctioned them for repeated offenses and South Korea grows tired of the tantrums. What is the next logical step in North Korea’s psychological warfare? North Korea now hopes to use an old trick from the past that is sure to get the United States’ attention. On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that North Korea will try an American detainee for allegedly trying to overthrow the government complicating an already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. The indictment comes as North Korea has run out of ammo to use against the U.S. and South Korea in order to force bargaining between the nations. North Korea remains angry over U.N. sanctions passed in February over nuclear tests and the ongoing U.S. South Korean drills though most believe the motive behind the indictment is to force its Korean War foes to negotiate on its own terms according to the Associated Press.
The man identified above, Kenneth Bae, also known by his Korean name in North Korean state media, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov.3 in Rason which is a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. He is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009, however the other detainees were eventually deported or released after high profile diplomatic interventions with some involving President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. According to the Korean Central News Agency, “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 with hostility toward it. His crimes were proved by evidence.” Under North Korea’s criminal code terrorist acts include murdering, kidnapping and injuring the country’s citizens can lead to a death sentence or life in jail AP reports.
The actual trial of Bae has not been set and the charges have yet to be announced by the KCNA as little information has been made public. North Korea and the United States do not have diplomatic relations due to the 1050-53 Korean War as the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represent the United States. Friends, colleagues and activist in South Korea said that Bae is a missionary based in a border town in China who made frequent trips to North Korea to feed orphans , but do not know whether he tried to evangelize while in North Korea AP reports. Officially, North Korea guarantee freedom of religion, however authorities have been known to crack down on Christians who are seen as threats to government because of the western influence. The distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services do carry a penalty of banishment to a labor camp or execution according to defectors from the country.
The world is becoming a nastier place day by day. It sucks that everyday people are paying the price for governments waging war and militant group bent on revenge. Today in Algeria, 25 foreign hostages escaped and six killed when Alergian forces launched an operation to free them from a remote desert gas plant. Mohamed Said, an Algerian government spokesman, stated that Thursday evening the operation was still ongoing and many of the terrorist have been killed. Three more people have been freed by the army as the operation continues after dark according to a local source (source Reuters). The standoff begain when the Battalion of Blood stormed the gas facility on Wednesday morning taking 41 foreigners hostage and demanding the halt of French military operation against al Queda linked Islamist militants in Mali. The raid increases fears that more of these attacks will occur as Algeria is just recovering from conflict with Islamist rebels in the 90s that cost 200,000 lives. The incident only raised the stakes for the French military campaign in neighboring Mali, as French President Francois Hollande said “What is happening in Algeria justifies all the more the decision I made in the name of France to intervene in Mali in line with the U.N. charter.” The exact number and nationalities of foreign hostages could not be confirmed but some countries include: Britain, United States, Norway, Japan, and Spain.
However, the concern of all countries involved is that the French action in Mali could cause backlash worse than the initial threat. The militants through contacts with media in Mauritania stated that they have men with mortars and anti-aircraft missiles in the compound and have rigged it to explode. “We hold the Algerian government and the French government and the countries of the hostages fully responsible if our demands are not met, and it is up to them to stop the brutal aggression against our people in Mali,” read one statement carried by Mauritanian media. They condemned the Algerian government for letting French warplanes fly over to Mali and shutting the borders to Malian refugees.