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North Korea detains two US journalists accused of crossing border

[JURIST] Authorities in North Korea have detained two American journalists who allegedly crossed into the country from China [JURIST news archives], official news agency KCNA [media website] confirmed Saturday. Laura Ling [professional website] and Euna Lee were reporting on North Korean refugees in China for Current TV [media website] when they allegedly crossed the border [Yonhap report] on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official profile; JURIST news archive] is reportedly involved in talks [Chosun Ilbo report] regarding the reporters. Current TV called for the release of the reporters, and the website's co-founder and former US vice president Al Gore [JURIST news archive] reportedly asked Clinton to get involved [CNN report].

The incident comes at a sensitive time for international relations with North Korea, as the nation has refused to fully disclose [AP report] its past nuclear activity. The US removed North Korea [WP report] from the State Department's list of terror sponsors [text] in October after former president George W. Bush agreed [JURIST report] to the step following the communist state's handover of a report on its nuclear program to China, one of the countries participating in the so-called Six Party Talks [CFR backgrounder] on the North Korean program. In February 2007, North Korea agreed [JURIST report] to end its nuclear weapons program, shut down and seal any reactors, and completely declare the extent of its nuclear activities in exchange for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel. North Korea has ranked [JURIST report] among the countries with the least protection for press freedoms.

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