Commentary: North Korea remains a rogue nation

Once again, the communist government in North Korea has chosen to call attention to itself by its bizarre behavior.

The sentencing of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling to 12 years in prison by a court in North Korea is part of its tiresome pattern of taking provocative actions in hopes of reaping a tangible benefit for the country's communist leaders.

Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling have become international pawns at a time when North Korea is engaged in a dangerous standoff with the United States and other countries over its nuclear weapons arsenal and a series of reckless missile tests. The timing suggests that Pyongyang is deliberately creating an international incident to gain leverage with its adversaries.

The journalists, who were working for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV, a cable media outlet, were arrested March 17 by guards near the China-North Korea border and held practically incommunicado for nearly three months. They were then tried and convicted in secret proceedings on charges of illegally crossing the border and committing an unspecified "grave crime."

The court's verdict cannot be appealed. That means the only possibility for freedom is to deal with the government.

Despite this outrageous behavior, the Obama administration has correctly refrained from name-calling and finger-pointing in hopes of securing the release of the two women by diplomacy. No need to make matters worse if the women can win their freedom without significant delay.

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