Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American Christian missionary who has
been detained in North Korea for more than a year, appears
before a limited number of media outlets in Pyongyang in
this January file photo from Reuters.
Three US citizens detained in North Korea have spoken to
CNN, with one pleading with the United States for help and
another describing his situation as "urgent".
Kenneth Bae, who was arrested 18 months ago and sentenced to
15 years hard labour for attempting to bring down the state,
told CNN he was working eight hours a day, six days a week,
and was the only inmate at a prison camp staffed by more than
20 officials, including a doctor.
"My health is failing," Bae said.
"I ask the US government and people out there to really put
in effort to send somebody, to make it work," he added.
In the past, US citizens held in North Korea have been freed
after visits from former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill
Tourists Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle, who were arrested
this year, told CNN they were being treated well as they
awaited imminent trial.
"My situation is very urgent," said Miller, from Bakersfield,
California, who was arrested in April when he ripped up his
tourist visa upon entry to the isolated country and said he
was seeking asylum, state media said at the time.
"Very soon I am going to trial, and I (will) directly be sent
to prison," Miller said.
Jeffrey Fowle, a middle-aged man from Miamisburg, Ohio, said
he was being treated well: "I hope and pray that it
continues, while I'm here, two more days or two more
He was arrested in May after he left a bible under a bin in
the toilet of a sailor's club in the northeastern city of
It was not immediately clear if the detained US citizens, who
CNN said were given five minutes each to be interviewed, were
.Bae, who appeared to have been interviewed separately, was
shown in the CNN video dressed in a casual shirt and trousers
- a departure from previous official and foreign media
footage that showed the Korean-American dressed in
prison-camp work clothes.
CNN, which was in Pyongyang to cover a wrestling match
organised by a Japanese politician, said the interview was
not pre-planned, and its crew had to cut short an earlier
appointment when they were told "immediately to meet with a
high-level government official in the capital".