- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2013

North Korea’s highest court finally released details of why an American was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, saying he smuggled anti-government documents into the hands of radicals.

Kenneth Bae, known as Pae Jun-ho in North Korea, used those materials to plot the downfall of the government, a Supreme Court spokesman said in the state news service, KCNA. The country had so far refused to address the man’s charges, but it faced growing claims that Mr. Bae was being used as a “political bargaining chip” with the United States, the BBC reported.

Mr. Bae is the sixth American to be detained by North Korea in recent years. All the others were released before their jail sentences wrapped — some of them, on the heels of personal visits to North Korea by high-profile Americans.

SEE ALSO: U.S. urges North Korea to release American sentenced to hard labor

The court spokesman said Mr. Bae was “dispatched to China as a missionary,” but that he set up “plot-breeding bases,” and from there “infiltrated at least 250 students” into North Korea’s port city of Rason. His goal, the court spokesman said, was to bring “the government down,” BBC reported.

The spokesman also said, BBC reported: “He committed such hostile acts as egging on overseas [North Korean] citizens and foreigners to perpetrate hostile acts to bring down its government while conducting a malignant smear campaign. He dared commit such hideous crimes as hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership.”

The only reason Mr. Bae wasn’t executed, the spokesman said in BBC, was because he confessed.