American sorry for spying in North Korea

2016-03-26 07:11
This picture from North Korea's official news agency shows Kim Tong Chol addressing journalists in Pyongyang. (AFP)

This picture from North Korea's official news agency shows Kim Tong Chol addressing journalists in Pyongyang. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - An American detained in North Korea said he had spied against the country and asked for forgiveness at a media presentation on Friday, nine days after a US tourist was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour for subversion.

Kim Tong Chol told a press conference in Pyongyang that he had collaborated with and spied for South Korean intelligence authorities in a plot to bring down the North's leadership and tried to spread religious ideas among North Koreans.

Describing his acts as "shameful and ineffaceable," Kim said he feels sorry for his crime and appealed to North Korean authorities to show him mercy by forgiving him.

He was born in South Korea and became a naturalised US citizen. In an interview with CNN in January, Kim said he lived in Fairfax, Virginia, before moving in 2011 to Yangji, a city near the Chinese-North Korean border.

He said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea, where he was president of a trade and hotel services company.

He said in the Pyongyang press conference that he was detained in Rason last October.

North Korean authorities often arrange press conferences for US and other foreign detainees in which they read statements to acknowledge their wrongdoing and praise the North's political system. Those detainees have said after their releases that they were coached or coerced on what to say.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service, the country's main spy agency, said Kim's case wasn't related to the organisation in any way and offered no further comment.

Otto Warmbier

On March 16, North Korea's highest court sentenced Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate, to prison after he confessed he tried to steal a propaganda banner as a trophy for an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church. He tearfully confessed at his press conference to the attempted theft, which would be grounds in North Korea for a subversion charge.

The US government condemned the sentence and accused North Korea of using such American detainees as political pawns.

The North's actions on the two American detainees came as it faces mounting pressure from the United States, South Korea and their allies following its nuclear weapons test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year. In recent days, North Korea has conducted weapons launches and issued warlike rhetoric in response to South Korean and US military drills that it sees as an invasion rehearsal.

Outside analysts say North Korea often attempts to use foreign detainees to wrest outside concessions. North Korea in the past released some US detainees after high-profile American figures visited the country.

North Korea is currently holding three South Koreans and a Canadian pastor for what it calls espionage and attempts to establish churches and use religion to destroy the North's system.

Read more on:    south korea  |  us  |  north korea

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.