Daily Dispatches
Kenneth Bae, right, and his friend Bobby Lee during their time together at the University of Oregon in the 1980s.
Associated Press/Photo by Bobby Lee/The Register-Guard, File
Kenneth Bae, right, and his friend Bobby Lee during their time together at the University of Oregon in the 1980s.

North Korea sentences Christian American to 15 years hard labor

Religion

Six months after detaining Korean American Kenneth Bae, North Korea has sentenced the man believed to be a Christian missionary to 15 years of hard labor.

Bae is charged with “hostile acts” against the state, the country’s media reported Thursday. If history is any guide, this move could elicit a visit by a high-profile American—and that’s the whole point of his punishment, according to Ahn Chan-il, head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies, a think tank in South Korea.

Bae, of Washington, is described by friends as a devout Christian and tour operator. He is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others were eventually deported or released without serving out their terms, some after prominent Americans, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, made visits to Pyongyang.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

"North Korea is using Bae as bait to make such a visit happen,” Ahn said. “An American bigwig visiting Pyongyang would also burnish Kim Jong Un's leadership profile." Kim took power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December 2011.

Bae’s trial took place in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. 

Read WORLD’s previous report on the case here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Whitney Williams
Whitney Williams

Whitney happily serves WORLD as web editorial assistant. When she's not working from her home office in Texas, she's probably fishing or hunting with her husband.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    Good credit

    Competency-based programs offer college credentials without the debilitating cost

     

    Soaring sounds

    Three recent albums highlight the aesthetic and emotional range…

     

    Numbers matter

    Understaffing the U.S. effort in Iraq from the beginning…

    Advertisement