Reporter Held in N. Korea Confesses to Crime

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One of the two U.S. journalists behind bars in North Korea has confessed to breaking the law in the Communist country.

Laura Ling confessed to illegally entering North Korea during a rare phone call Tuesday with her sister Lisa Ling, who is also a well-known TV reporter.

"And now we're just hoping that our two countries that don't have a diplomatic relationship can somehow find a reason and use this reason to communicate to secure their release," Lisa Ling said.

The two journalists were sentenced to 12 years in prison and hard labor by a North Korean court last month after being tried on charges they entered the country illegally.
    
The U.S. is demanding that the women be released.
    
However, North Korea is asking the U.S. to issue a statement admitting that the women committed a hostile act against the communist regime.

North Korea has also delayed sending the two American Journalists to a prison labor camp, signaling the country may be ready to negotiate with the U.S. for the women's release.

Ling and Lee, who are employed by former vice president Al Gore's California-based Current TV media group, are being held at a guest house in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

"North Korea's move not to carry out the sentence suggests that it could release them through a dialogue with the United States and they could be set free at an early date, depending on the U.S. gesture," said University of Georgia political scientist Han Park.

"I heard from North Korean officials that the American journalists were doing fine at a guest house in Pyongyang," Park added.   

Park predicted that discussions could occur soon between Washington and Pyongyang. But no time frame for a possible meeting was given, and officials in Washington would not comment on the issue.

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