But they don’t say how the know, what they’re basing that conclusion on, or offer any further details to support that conclusion.
The journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee said in an article in the Los Angeles Times (http:/link.reuters.com/cug44d) that they strayed into North Korean territory in March when visiting a frozen river that marked the border with China. They said they rushed back to the Chinese side but North Korean guards chased them and dragged them into North Korea.
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu rejected their account. “According to the understanding of the relevant (Chinese) departments, they did not find the situation as you described it,” she told reporters in answer to a question about the two U.S. journalists’ account.
Jiang deflected repeated questions about how the two were seized, telling them that her meaning was plain enough. She did not give details of how China reached its conclusions, except to say that the investigation was carried out by local authorities on the border. [Reuters]
Obviously, the Chinese are humiliated by more exposure of the fact that they allow North Korean agents to operate on their territory and kidnap refugees (and the occasional foreigner) with impunity. We are again reminded of the near-certainty that the North Korean agents who kidnapped the Rev. Kim Dong Shik must have moved him through China and across its border with North Korea with the assent of Chinese officials.
Odds are, the Chinese are lying. Unless they were surreptitiously watching the whole scene play out and laughing into the palms of their hands, there aren’t many possible sources of evidence on which they’re basing their contradiction of Laura and Ling and Euna Lee, who insist they were kidnapped from the Chinese side of the river. Let’s consider the short list of possible sources:
- The North Koreans. Enough said.
- Ling and Lee’s video, which we still haven’t seen. I’ve been very critical of Ling and Lee’s decision to cross into North Korea — especially with cameras — but it sounds implausible to me that they were still filming as they were running away. Not likely.
- Chinese-Korean guide Kim Seong-Cheol, whom the Chinese arrested after the March 17th incident. There’s a big problem with Kim S.C.’s credibility, however — Ling and Lee suggest he was on Kim Jong Il’s payroll with instructions to lure them across the border. For what it’s worth, I believe Ling and Lee on this point. It makes sense, it’s consistent with what I’ve heard all along, and the timing was extremely convenient for Kim Jong Il. Even Chun Ki-Won, who introduced Kim Seong-Cheol to Ling and Lee, claimed in an interview that he warned Ling and Lee against crossing the border. Why, then, would a guide who was on Chun’s “white list” violate that warning unless he sold Ling and Lee across the river, as it were? Of course, you’d think that Chun himself would be a bigger prize for His Withering Majesty, but then again, Chun is probably a much tougher, craftier target than these naive Americans. But Chun wasn’t there, of course. The persistent rumors that this group of Americans was lured could only have come from the last remaining witness ….
- Mitch Koss.