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Report: U.S. journalists held in N. Korea

  • Story Highlights
  • Yonhap: N. Korean news agency acknowledges 2 U.S. journalists detained
  • Media reports say that journalists are Laura Ling, Euna Lee from online news outlet
  • Journalists were detained after refusing to stop filming at North Korea-China border
  • N. Korea's planned launch of a "satellite" has raised tension with U.S.
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(CNN) -- Two Americans have been detained in North Korea for illegally entering the country, North Korean state media reported Saturday according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The statement is an apparent confirmation of earlier reports that North Korean guards had detained two female U.S. journalists who were filming near the border of China and North Korea on March 17.

Media reports have identified the women as Laura Ling and Euna Lee, from the online news outlet Current TV, co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

U.S. State Department officials have not confirmed the women's names but said Gore has reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for help, a senior U.S. administration official told CNN.

The arrest was made early in the morning of March 17 in the area of the Tumen River marking the border between North Korea and China, U.S. administration officials told CNN.


Officials said the State Department was trying to pin down exactly whether the journalists were on the Chinese side of the border or on the North Korean side when they were caught.

The women were caught in the middle of the frozen Tumen River, where the border between the two countries is not clearly marked, a senior administration official said.

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