On December 29, 2009, North Korean police detained a US citizen, later confirmed to be human rights activist Robert Park, for illegally entering the country. Park, who was released by authorities after six weeks, had entered the country to protest its human rights record and deliver a letter to supreme leader Kim Jong Il urging him to relinquish power. North Korea had previously pardoned US journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee after their arrest and sentencing for allegedly entering the country illegally in 2009. Some commentators believed Kim used their capture to leverage its bargaining power in policy negotiations with the US.
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