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North Korea set to indict US Christian accused of proselytizing

Jun Young-su, a member of a Christian church in California, was arrested in November, the latest in a series of Americans to be held by North Korea. Christian worship is banned in the North.

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North Korea planned Thursday to indict a US passport holder on an unspecified charge after the State Department had demanded his release.

Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said Jun Young-su had “admitted his crime,” but gave no further details. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Mr. Jun, a member of a Christian congregation in Irvine California, had been accused of spreading religious material when arrested in November.

The case was the latest in a series in which US citizens have been held in North Korea on charges ranging from criticizing the North Korean regime to crossing the border illegally, to Christian proselytizing. Christian worship is banned in North Korea, except in two churches in Pyongyang that are viewed as showcases, opened only for display to foreign visitors as evidence of religious freedom.

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Mr. Jun, described by Yonhap as a businessman in his 60s, reportedly entered North Korea legally in November, but news of his detention did not emerge until this week. A diplomat from the Swedish embassy, representing US interests in Pyongyang in the absence of diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea, reportedly has seen him, but there was no word of his condition or the specific reason for his arrest.

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