[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/06/02/north.korea.detained.journalists/art.lee.afp.gi.jpg caption="Euna Lee has been in North Korean custody since March, when she and another reporter were detained. "]
Editor's Note: The families of two U.S. journalists detained in North Korea made public pleas for their release as their trial and the threat of years in labor camps loom. The women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, are to go on trial Thursday on spying charges. The family members of Ling and Lee sat down with Larry King on Monday night. Tune in tonight for Anderson's interview with Laura Ling's sister, Lisa on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Larry King: How well do you know Euna?
Lisa Ling: Not at all. Her husband.
Larry: He’s here.
Ling: and their four year old daughter are parts of the family. It’s been difficult for all of us.
Larry: what were they doing there?
Ling: They were on the border working on a story about trafficked women along the border and…
Larry: Women from where to where?
Ling: From both sides, really. And the details of what happened the day they were arrested are unknown. I mean, the only people who really know what happened were Laura and Euna but what can say for certain, you can ask any member of our family, when they left the United States, there was never an intention to cross the border into North Korea. We expected that they would be back in a couple of days and so that’s what we can say with certainty and if for some reason they did cross over, then we apologize profusely on their behalf.
Larry: Do you think they could have accidentally crossed over?
Ling: We don’t know. There is a possibility that they could have crossed over but if they did, I don’t believe they did it for long. Maybe a couple of minutes but I can’t say.
Larry: You know they had no intention. We are looking at a map of the area.
Ling: Absolutely. We are told that at this time, you know, it’s a very vague border. The river, the Tumen River is frozen. But again, we don’t know the specifics.
Larry: Mary, we understand you got a letter from your daughter.
Larry: Would you share part of it?
Mary: Okay. I hope I won’t break down.
Larry: this is not easy.
Mary: Yes. I just want to read the last paragraph that she wrote. She’s a very caring, selfless girl. She wrote, I am thinking about you all constantly and how fortunate I am to have such an amazing, loving family. Stay strong. And please take care of yourself. That is my biggest request. Know that I am doing okay. And dreaming about being reunited with you all again.
Larry: Now your sister called you last Tuesday, right?
Ling: So last Tuesday
Larry: How did that happen?
Ling: It was so unexpected. My husband and I were sitting at home and at 11:00 at night, I got a call. And I picked up the phone and I heard this little voice say, Li, It’s me. I need your help. And the call lasted about four minutes and it was extremely emotional. I’m surprised we got the words out but in the course of the four-minute conversation, she said that the only way she may be able to get released is if our two countries communicate and why we wanted to go public, to encourage the government to do so.
Larry: How did she sound?
Ling: She sounds scary, Larry. I mean, she sounds absolutely terrified. You know, it’s been almost three months and communication with her has been so limited, we got that one phone call that was the first time I’d heard her voice in two and a half months and gotten one letter and her husband got one letter and then that’s it. The only people who have seen them outside of the North Koreans and Swedish delegation.
Larry: Do you have faith this country is doing all that it can?
Ling: I know that our state department is working hard on the issue. We communicate with them every single day. But because our two countries don’t have a diplomatic relationship, communication has been so limited so we hope that they can start talking about this issue on humanitarian grounds. I mean, the other issue is a far larger issue that we can have input on nut on this humanitarian issue we beg both countries to talk.
Filed under: 360° Radar
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