North Korea said on Monday it had found two U.S. journalists guilty of entering the state illegally and sentenced both to 12 years of hard labor, a step likely to compound diplomatic strains with Washington and regional powers.
The female journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV, were arrested while working on a story near the border between North Korea and China.
"The trial confirmed the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing as they had already been indicted and sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor," the official KCNA news agency said in a brief dispatch.
Analysts say the two have become bargaining chips in high-stakes negotiations with the United States, which has long sought to end the North's nuclear ambitions.
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