Photos of orphans may be the reason behind one man’s detention.
Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old American citizen, is being held in North Korea according to a report from The New York Times. Mr. Bae runs a company that specializes in taking both tourists and prospective investors into North Korea, and has visited the country several times in the past without incident. However, about a month ago Mr. Bae was detained while escorting a group of European tourists into the North Korean city of Rajin. The tourists were allowed to leave the country but Mr. Bae was detained. According to an unnamed source,
Mr. Bae was detained after North Korean security officials found a computer hard disk that they believed contained sensitive information about the country.
The New York Times reports that Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department in Washington said at a briefing on Tuesday,
We’re obviously aware of these reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea, we obviously have no higher priority than the welfare of our citizens.
The head of the Citizens’ Coalition for the Human Rights of North Korean Refugees, Mr. Do Hee-youn, first learned of the detention of Mr. Bae through a mutual friend in China. Although he has few details Mr. Do told The New York Times,
Mr. Bae was interested in helping orphans who beg for food in North Korean markets. The most plausible scenario I can think of is that he took some pictures of the orphans, and the North Korean authorities considered that an act of anti-North Korean propaganda.
After the death of a Navy SEAL last week during a rescue mission in Afghanistan, and the current pressure on Washington to enforce stricter sanctions on North Korea for the recent missile launch, do you think the US Government should be doing more to investigate these claims and if found to be factual attempt to garner Kenneth Bae’s release?
What is the responsibility of the US government to its citizens who voluntarily chose to place themselves in dangerous situations while working or traveling abroad?
Picture: Joseph A Ferris III/Flickr