American Prisoner Jailed in North Korea’s ‘Special Prison’

June 22, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hostile 
[HOS-tl] (adj.) – unpleasant or not showing friendliness
Example: Hostile acts can create conflicts between two parties.

2. confrontation [kon-fruh n-TEY-shuh n] (n.) – an event in which people with different ideas challenge, fight or argue with each other
Example: The presidents of the two countries at war had a confrontation about their demands.

3. bargaining chip [BAHR-guh n-ing chip] (n. phrase) – something used to negotiate or to gain favor in an agreement or deal
Example: The terrorists used the captured civilian as a bargaining chip to get what they want from the government.

4. reiterate [ree-IT-uh-reyt] (v.) – to emphasize by saying something repeatedly
Example: To make his intentions clear to the people, the president reiterated the objectives of his project.

5. humanitarian [hyoo-man-i-TAIR-ee-uh n] (adj.) – relating to the act of making good things for the people
Example:  The humanitarian projects of the United Nations aim to promote peace among different groups of people around the world.


Read the text below.
North Korea has announced that its American prisoner Kenneth Bae has already been detained in a ‘special prison’ last month.

Referred to as Pae Jun Ho in North Korea, Kenneth Bae was arrested in North Korea’s northeastern corner last November 2012 after being accused of committing hostile acts against the country.

North Korea accuses Bae of doing offensive acts against its government, saying that Bae wants to bring the government down. The country filed charges against Bae for preaching in churches to promote ‘confrontations’ between the people and the government. Also, North Korea says that Bae is a missionary who aims to convert North Koreans to a new religion.

However, Bae’s sister said in an interview that her brother does not intend  to harm North Korea in any way. She added that Bae went to North Korea only for his business, which is a tour company.

The U.S. has long been asking North Korea to free Kenneth Bae. In fact, even the basketball player Dennis Rodman has requested the release of Bae, hoping that the player’s previous visit in North Korea will positively affect the country’s decision.

However, North Korea says that Bae is not a political bargaining chip. Although the country has already released some Americans before, North Korea says that it will handle Bae’s case differently. North Korea reiterates that as long as the U.S. makes offensive policies, North Korea will not make humanitarian actions for any accused Americans.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think it is right for Kenneth Bae to be imprisoned? Why do you think so?
·         In your opinion, is it fair for North Korea to treat Kenneth Bae’s case differently? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the main causes of conflicts between different countries? Please explain your answer.
·         In your opinion, how can peace be encouraged and promoted among different countries?


June 22, 2013