UK & World News
North Korea To Try US Pair Over 'Hostile Acts'
North Korea is to put two detained American men on trial for "committing hostile acts" against the country.
According to the country's state news agency, KCNA, investigations into Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 56, and Matthew Todd Miller, 24, have confirmed suspicions that they planned hostile acts during their visits.
The KCNA report said their "crimes" were confirmed through an examination of evidence and through testimonies given by the two men.
However, details of their alleged crimes have not been revealed. The North Korean regime has not disclosed any evidence or hinted at when their trials might begin.
Mr Miller is understood to have arrived in North Korea on a tourist visa on April 10.
According to various reports, including KCNA, Miller publicly tore up his passport at Pyongyang Airport and declared he wanted to seek asylum in North Korea.
"A relevant organ of the DPRK put in custody American Miller Matthew Todd, 24, on April 10 for his rash behaviour in the course of going through formalities for entry into the DPRK to tour it," a KCNA report stated at the time.
Mr Fowle, a 56-year-old from the US state of Ohio, arrived in the country on April 29. He was also travelling on a tourist visa.
According to diplomatic sources, he was detained after leaving a bible in his hotel room. Christian missionaries are known to be active inside the country and play a role in helping people to escape the regime.
However, Mr Fowle's family have told reporters in Ohio that he was not on a mission for his church.
An increasing number of tourists are choosing to travel to North Korea, lured by the country's secrecy and mystery.
All tourists must travel with specific tour groups and are tied to rigid itineraries accompanied by government minders.
In May, the US State Department changed its travel advice to US citizens, warning against all travel to North Korea.
"US citizen tourists have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention," the State Department warning says.
"North Korean authorities have arrested US citizens who entered the DPRK legally on valid DPRK visas as well as US citizens who accidentally crossed into DPRK territory.
"Do not assume that joining a group tour or use of a tour guide will prevent your arrest or detention by North Korean authorities.
"Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of US citizens in the DPRK have not succeeded in gaining their release."
The UK Foreign Office does not advise against travel but says visitors should exercise sensible precautions.
"Very few British nationals visit North Korea and those that do are usually part of an organised tour. Most visits are trouble-free. However, the North Korean authorities have arrested other legal visitors, including 2 US citizens during recent years." it says.
The US has no diplomatic ties with North Korea, presenting it with significant difficulties in gaining access to the detained men.
The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang takes responsibility for US consular affairs in the country.
Another American, Kenneth Bae, has been held in North Korea since November 2012.
A closed North Korean court convicted him of crimes against the state and sentenced him to 15 years hard labour. To date, attempts to secure his release have failed despite his failing health.