Korean-American in North Korea confesses to stealing secrets: report
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A naturalized American citizen detained in North Korea has confessed to stealing military secrets on behalf of South Korea, according to Reuters.

Kim Dong Chul, 60, admitted to committing “unpardonable espionage” against Pyongyang.

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“The extraordinary crime I committed was defaming and insulting the republic’s highest dignity and its system and spreading false propaganda aimed at breaking down its solidarity,” he said.

KCNA, North Korea’s state news agency, reported Friday that Kim said he was paid by South Korea for his attempts at pilfering state and military secrets. He described the acts as part of a greater plot aimed at overthrowing North Korea’s government.

KCNA published photos that showed Kim bowing and weeping as he made his confession.

Kim claimed he met with South Korean contacts and provided them with sensitive intelligence. He admitted to keeping secret information on USB memory sticks and storing prohibited images on data storage cards.

Reuters described Kim as a Korean-American from Fairfax, Va., noting he is a Christian pastor who had worked in both China and the U.S. He entered the U.S. in 1972, eventually setting up a business in the North Korean special economic zone of Rason in 2008.

Kim, who was born in Seoul, has several siblings in South Korea and two daughters residing in New York.

North Korea’s high court last week also sentenced an American student to 15 years of hard labor for attempting to steal a political banner. Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate, tearfully confessed to the crime after getting charged with subversion.

North Korea has repeatedly antagonized the global community this year, testing a hydrogen bomb in January and a long-range rocket last month despite longstanding international sanctions against it.