N.Korea says not to free US citizens until former detainee stops 'babbling'

June 20, 2016 09:43

SEOUL - North Korea will not negotiate with the United States over two American citizens it is holding until former detainee Kenneth Bae stops publicly talking about his time in prison, state media said on Monday.

Criticized over its human rights record for years, North Korea has made use of detained Americans in the past to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

North Korea arrested Bae, a US missionary, in November 2012 and sentenced him to 15 years' hard labor for crimes against the state.

He was released two years later and has written an account of his detention in a memoir released in May. Since then, Bae has spoken about his experiences at several public appearances and given interviews to promote the book.

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