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North Korea to try two American tourists

The statement released Monday through the Korean Central News Agency said the government is "making preparations for bringing [Miller and Fowle] before court on the basis of the already confirmed charges."
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   June 30, 2014 at 9:46 AM
PYONGYANG, North Korea, June 30 (UPI) -- North Korea announced Monday that it is charging two Americans for committing "hostile acts" while visiting the country as tourists.

Matthew Miller, 24, and Jeffrey Fowle, 56, were both detained in April after North Korean authorities claim they collected evidence and testimony that proves they were "perpetrating hostile acts after entering" the country.

Miller entered the country on a private tourist visa. Two weeks later, North Korea announced his detainment and said Miller had torn up his visa and yelled that he was seeking asylum once he stepped on North Korean soil.

Fowle was reportedly detained because he left his Bible in his hotel room, which North Korea deemed as a public place, according to Japan's Kyodo News.

The statement released Monday through the Korean Central News Agency said the government is "making preparations for bringing [Miller and Fowle] before court on the basis of the already confirmed charges."

The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the statement, but will possibly address the situation in Monday's press briefing. The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, and must therefore work through the Swedish Embassy, which has agreed to represent American interests in North Korea.

"Contact with an official looking after consular affairs, treatment, etc. in the course of investigation are being made in line with the laws of the relevant country," reported the state-run media.

North Korea also has had Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae in custody since 2012. Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after North Korea called him a Christian evangelist who was trying to topple the government.

North Korea also tested two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Sunday -- an act that defies the U.N. ban on missile launches out of the country.

"We call on North Korea to refrain from taking provocative actions and instead fulfill its international obligations and commitments," an official from the U.S. State Department told CNN.

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