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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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North Korea shows American detainee accused of spying

Displayed an alleged American spy

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SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Friday displayed an alleged American spy, confessing in a state-controlled news conference that he stole secret military documents and plotted with South Korea and the United States to topple the government of the reclusive nation.> Big News Network

Kim, a naturalised US citizen, pleaded for mercy for committing "unpardonable espionage" while being paraded in front of the media in Pyongyang, the North's KCNA news agency.

Kim appeared wearing a blue suit and was at times flanked by security officials.

The Korean-American was arrested last October on suspicion of spying.

"The extraordinary crime I committed was defaming and insulting the republic's highest dignity and its system and spreading false propaganda aimed at breaking down its solidarity," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

But the press conference appeared highly scripted, raising concerns that it will most likely escalate tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

A defector from the North previously told Reuters that Kim, who is one of three known Western citizens held in the North, was a Christian pastor who had worked in China and the United States and sent medical aid into the North.

Kim’s parade and confession came less than two weeks after North Korea sentenced an American student to 15 years in prison with hard labor for allegedly trying to take a sign as a souvenir during a tour.

Forced public confessions by foreign prisoners are common in North Korea, the BBC said.

Kim said that he was first approached by South Korean intelligence officers in 2011 to engage in paid espionage and was arrested while receiving a USB stick containing military and nuclear secrets from a source, KCNA said.

There was no immediate comment from US officials. But Washington has previously accused North Korea of taking Americans into custody as political pawns in its showdowns with the West over issues such as Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

An official introducing Kim to the media began the meeting by praising North Korea's nuclear achievements and its leader Kim Jong Un, Reuters said, citing an unnamed source who had direct knowledge of the meeting.

Photos posted by KCNA showed Kim bowing and appearing to wipe away tears.

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