Kenneth Bae speaks from labor camp

An American missionary detained in North Korea since November 2012 is doing time in a labor camp.

Kenneth Bae's family says he has health problems and they're worried about him having to do forced labor.

From the North Korean gulag wearing prisoner number 103 Kenneth Bae says he's lost 10 pounds since being transferred back to a labor camp a few weeks ago. The American missionary says he's been working with his hands a lot, and that he has some cuts.

"Doing hard labor for eight-hours a day for the next couple of months will be difficult. So if they could do something right away, it would be the best way to do it," said Bae.

Bae's conversation with a Swedish diplomat was released by Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper based in japan. He told the diplomat he's being treated fairly, has access to books and t-v at the camp, and is staying strong mentally and spiritually.

"To my family, just let them know that, even though I'm here, but I'm, still, continue on with my, myself, and I have not lost hope, or given up anything," said Bae.

Bae's sister, Terri Chung, responded with grave concern, in a VNN interview.

"I'm really concerned about his health and the fact that he's been moved to the labor camp. You know, we're really discouraged by that," said Chung.

Bae's family says he has a bad back, and diabetes.

In the labor camp recording, Bae said us military drills with South Korea, due to start later this month, could make tensions with North Korea worse. Analysts say the North Koreans probably coerced that out of Bae.

The White House responded sharply, saying the drills had been scheduled for months.

So why is Bae being treated so harshly, compared to other Americans held, then released, by the North Koreans?

Bae was accused of trying to bring down the North Korean government through religious activities. Analyst Victor Cha says the North Koreans see that as a severe attack, and want to make an example out of Bae.

Cha says this is a no-win for the Obama team.

"I mean, if they send in someone high-level, they're going to get criticized for playing into the North Koreans' game. On the other hand, you have this American there, and somebody's got to get him out. They just can't leave him there," said Cha.

And another setback in this case, just as we were learning of Kenneth Bae's recording, the State Department says North Korea rescinded its invitation for a special U.S. envoy to come to Pyongyang and discuss Bae's case, and says the regime hasn't given a reason why.


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