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PYONGYANG, September 07,/ITAR-TASS/. North Korean (DPRK) authorities have decided to put on trial a U.S. citizen that is currently held in custody, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday. The trial will start on September 14.
“The Supreme Court of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea decided to judge American Miller Matthew Todd now in custody on September 14, according to the indictment of a relevant institution,” KCNA said in a brief dispatch, monitored in Seoul, according to the Yonhap news agency of South Korea.
The announcement is seen as the latest indication that North Korea wants to use the case as leverage to reopen dialogue with the United States.
North Korea announced the arrest of 24-year-old Miller in April, accusing him of tearing up his tourist visa and seeking asylum upon entry. Miller is one of three American citizens currently detained in the North. In an interview with the U.S. cable news channel CNN earlier this month, all three men, including Kenneth Bae and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, called on Washington to send an envoy to the North to help bring them home.
Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American Christian missionary, was detained in North Korea in November 2012 for unspecified anti-state crimes. He has been serving 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of the charges last year. In June, the North announced it was holding Fowle, saying he entered the country as a tourist on April 29 and violated the country's law, “contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay.” Fowle was accused of leaving a Bible in a hotel.
DPRK and the United States have no diplomatic relations. The interests of Washington in Pyongyang are represented by the Swiss embassy. Political tension has been maintained between the two countries for many years.