- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2013

North Korea has sentenced a Washington state citizen to 15 years of hard labor, accusing him of “hostile acts” against the government.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American and devout Christian, frequently visited the country to feed orphans, The Associated Press reported. He was arrested by North Korean authorities in November for unspecified crimes.

The country’s Supreme Court tried him earlier this week for “committing hostile acts,” but did not reveal the specifics of those acts, AP said.

The U.S. State Department, which does not have official diplomatic ties with North Korea, was working through the Swedish Embassy to confirm Mr. Bae’s sentencing, AP reported.

But Ahn Chan-il, the head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies, a think tank in South Korea, said the North “is using Bae as bait,” in order that the U.S. might send a high-profile representative, like former President Bill Clinton or former President Jimmy Carter, to visit for talks, AP reported.