SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has deported an American woman who frequently visited the country over the past 20 years, accusing her of engaging in "plot-breeding and propaganda."
North Korea's state media said Wednesday that Sandra Suh had traveled to North Korea "under the pretense of 'humanitarianism,'" but that she had secretly produced and directed anti-North Korean videos and photos because of her "inveterate repugnancy" toward Pyongyang.
Suh arrived on a flight to Beijing on Thursday but made no comments to reporters there.
A U.S. Embassy official in Seoul didn't immediately have details about the report. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf in Washington said Wednesday she could not confirm any of the details that have been reported about the woman.
North Korea has occasionally detained Americans and other foreigners for what the cloistered country considered missionary work or "anti-state" activities that it sees as attempts to bring down its authoritarian government.
Analysts say past detentions have been attempts to wrest outside concessions out of Washington. Authorities in Pyongyang have also in the past staged news conferences, during which foreign detainees appeared before the media and made statements that they then recanted after their releases.
However, Wednesday's report appeared to be the first word about Suh.
Pyongyang said it decided to deport the American because of her "old age" and after she apologized and admitted that she'd "seriously insulted" its citizens' trust in leader Kim Jong Un.
Last year, the North released three Americans who had been detained — two who had entered the country on tourist visas and Kenneth Bae, a missionary convicted and sentenced for "anti-state" crimes. An Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity was also deported last year after he apologized for anti-state religious acts.