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North Korea: Behind the Curtain
A South Korean protester displays portraits of American journalists detained in North Korea. Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been convicted of entering North Korea illegally and engaging in "hostile acts." Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore 's California-based Current TV media venture, were arrested March 17 near the North Korean border while on a reporting trip to China. (AP)

A South Korean protester displays portraits of American journalists detained in North Korea. Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV media venture, have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering North Korea illegally and engaging in "hostile acts." (AP)

North Korea just keeps boiling: Nuclear test. Missiles flying. Succession fever. War threats.

And now two American journalists — Al Gore’s journalists, no less — sentenced to twelve years hard labor.

Pyongyang seems to always talk hot and push buttons — selling weapons, counterfeiting U.S. dollars by the truckload, threatening Armageddon. But the latest rash of threats and steps is the hottest in years.

China’s on edge. So is Washington. And two Americans are prisoners.

This hour, On Point: Hot times. We’ll try to pull back the curtain on what’s going on with North Korea.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us first from Seoul is Evan Ramstad, Korea correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. He reported last week on North Korea’s succession mystery and reported this morning on the situation of the two American journalists.

From Culver City, Calif., we’re joined by David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute and professor of international relations and business at the University of Southern California. He’s the author of ”China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia” and co-author of “Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies.”

And from Seoul we’re joined by Brian Myers, director of International Studies at Dongseo University, where he researches North Korean ideology and propaganda.

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