A Korean American detained for six months in North Korea has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for “hostile acts” against the state, the North’s media said Thursday — a move that could trigger a visit by a high-profile American if history is any guide.
Kenneth Bae, 44,
described by friends as a devout Christian and a tour operator, is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009.
The others eventually were deported or released without serving out their terms, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
With already abysmal US-North Korean ties worsening, Pyongyang is fishing for another such meeting, said Ahn Chan-il, head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies think tank in South Korea.