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Diplomatic flurry after North Korea seizes US journalists

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREAUS diplomats are working intensively to obtain the release of two American journalists seized by North Korean border guards as they were shooting film along the Tumen River border with China.

The US government confirmed Thursday the two, both young women on assignment for Al Gore’s Current TV network, remain in North Korean hands since the guards grabbed them Tuesday morning after warning them not to shoot scenes along the river.

What’s not clear is whether the pair had ventured onto the icy river and strayed onto the North Korean side, whether the North Koreans lured them to cross the center of the ice, or whether the border guards crossed the line onto the Chinese side and pulled them onto North Korean territory.

US diplomats hoped to get a full reading on the incident – and to get North Korea to return the journalists – before the episode exploded into a major diplomatic ruckus in a period of worsening North Korean relations with South Korea as well as the US. (Click here to read about the rising tensions.)

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