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U.S. denied access to American detained in N. Korea

All Headlines 05:46 January 19, 2013

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- For weeks, North Korea has refused to allow the United States government to contact a Korean-American man detained in the communist nation, the State Department said Friday.

"As we said about three or four weeks ago, we had contact through our Swedish protecting power. We have not been able to have another contact since then. We continue to ask," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing.

She was responding to a question on Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour operator who was arrested by North Korea's security authorities in early November.

Pyongyang announced that Bae, 45, entered the nation on Nov. 3 and committed an unspecified "crime."

The U.S. has been trying to learn about Bae's situation in North Korea through the Swedish Embassy there. Washington has no representative in Pyongyang since the U.S. has no diplomatic ties.

A U.S. civilian group, led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, traveled to Pyongyang earlier this month.

Richardson said his group, which included Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, raised the issue of Bae in meetings with North Korean officials but was not allowed to meet him.

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com
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