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Two US reporters detained, investigated: NKorea

world Updated: Mar 22, 2009 08:27 IST

Two Americans were detained by North Korea for illegally crossing its border and were under investigation, the communist country's official news agency said on Sunday.

The two female US journalists were arrested on March 17 while "illegally intruding into the territory of (North Korea) by crossing the (North Korea)-China border," the Korean Central News Agency said.

Authorities were investigating the case, KCNA said. The brief dispatch gave no further details.

South Korean media and a South Korean missionary identified the two Americans as Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based media outlet Current TV.

State Department officials said Washington is in contact with North Korea about the two detained journalists.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton "is engaged on this matter right now," spokesman Robert A Wood told reporters on Saturday.

"There is a lot of diplomacy going on. There have been a number of contacts made." He did not elaborate.

The two reporters were in the border area with a male cameraman and their guide as part of a reporting assignment on North Korean refugees.