The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


Trying to Visualize…

Up until Euna Lee’s husband Michael Saldate’s insistence at a July 19th Chicago vigil that she and Laura Ling are being held at a Pyongyang medical detention facility, the general assumption had been that the pair were at a relatively comfortable guest house. From scholar Dr. Han S. Park, who recently returned from another visit to North Korea’s capital city, to veteran journalists such as Donald Kirk, the operative words have been “guest house.”

One possibility is that the journalists were recently, because of respective health conditions, moved from the guest house to a medical detention facility (a supposition that was hinted at in several news reports as well as during July interviews with @lisaling). In that case, perhaps they were formerly being kept at Pyongyang’s Paekhwawon State Guest House, where South Korean presidents and many other top dignitaries have previously stayed.

As far as the medical detention facility is concerned, it may well be nothing more than a secured section of a Pyongyang hospital such as the Red Cross Hospital, Pyongyang Medical College Hospital or the People’s Hospital. After all, it wouldn’t take much more than single guards posted outside Ling and Lee’s hospital rooms to keep them forcibly confined. Additionally, there is obviously nowhere for these long-suffering prisoners to hide if they were actually able to somehow slip away from their present location.

Ling’s recurring ulcer and Lee’s loss of weight bring into play another troublesome aspect of North Korea. As the State Department warns in its travel advisory for the DPRK, “For decades, medical facilities in North Korea have suffered from a lack of resources and electricity, as well as inadequate and often outdated skills among the medical staff. Hospitals in Pyongyang can perform basic examinations and lifesaving measures, but functioning x-ray facilities are not generally available. Surgery should be avoided.”


Filed under: Euna Lee, Laura Ling

4 Responses

  1. Spelunker says:

    Letterman’s Top 10 list of book titles for Ling/Lee

    10. Laura and Euna’s Accidental Adventure
    9. 140 days and 30 seconds in North Korea
    8. Across the Tumen: Going Against the Current
    7. Tumen River Tango (& Cash)
    6. Saved By The Bill
    5. Laura’s Lonely “Plan It” Guide to North Korea
    4. Ling/Lee’s Pyongyang On $1785 Per Day
    3. Euna Lee’s Pyongyang Prison Korean Phrase Book
    2. Laura Ling’s Sign Language Dictionary For Foreign Pyongyang Prisoners

    And the number 1 book (and film deal) title for Laura Ling and Euna Lee’s Current TV caper:

    Ling/Lee: Cultural Learnings of Glorious North Korea for Make Benefit Imperialist United States

    • liberatelaura says:

      And if Hollywood ever made a slapstick version with Kurt Russell as Bill, you could call it BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE KOREA.

  2. Spelunker says:

    They probably won’t publish this, which is why I am posting it here. The showdown continues:

    Spelunker August 7th, 2009 11:24 am ET
    (Your comment is awaiting moderation.)

    What’s the top headline right now on AC 360’s main page?

    “Journalists briefly entered N. Korea, sister says”

    Oh really? So we’re finished with questions like “what was it like for the Ling family for the 140 days Laura was held in captivity” and “how is Laura doing now that she’s back home”??

    Perhaps today I can discuss that brief border crossing and Laura’s intention or will this comment vanish into oblivion like the similar musing I submitted to CNN last night?

    Perhaps Laura’s future book will be titled “140 Days and 30 Seconds”
    as we currently wait to devour the chapter devoted to clarifying what happened at the Tumen River border on March 17. Lisa Ling says we should wait for Laura to tell her own story first, but what about Mitch Koss? He has remained silent since his arrival back in California in March after a brief detainment in China. (How long? 30 minutes?)

    If Laura is about to “pin” the blame on voodoo doll Mitch Koss, (Lisa keeps maintaining that it was not her sister’s intention), then shouldn’t he deploy a ballistic missive in a pre-emptive strike?

    When is Anderson Cooper coming back? He won’t want to miss this!

  3. Spelunker says:

    Unbelievable! They just published it! Hallelujah!

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