Trial for U.S. Journalists Detained in North Korea

North Korea seems to be using the reporters as a bargaining chip with the U.S.

ByABC News
March 31, 2009, 7:23 AM

SEOUL, South Korea, March 31, 2009 — -- The detention of two American journalists in North Korea is likely to continue for at least several more weeks, according to North Korea analysts in Seoul.

Pyongyang will use the opportunity as a negotiating card but will eventually release them depending on the speed of progress in talks with, and attention from, the United States.

"We can clearly see that North Korea has begun to use those reporters as a bargaining chip," said Moo-Jin Yang, professor at the Graduate School of North Korean Studies, referring to Pyongyang's statement today that it plans to indict and put the two women on trial for "suspicions of illegal entry and hostile acts."

Euna Lee and Laura Ling, reporters for the San Francisco-based Current TV founded by former Vice President Al Gore, were detained by North Korean guards at the northern border with China March 17.

Reports have said they crossed the frozen Tumen River into North Korean territory while covering a story on North Korean refugees and human trafficking.