North Korea halts prisoner negotiations, upset with Kenneth Bae and his outspoken ways

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Former Prisoner Urges Compassion for N. Koreans


The North Korean government said Monday it will not negotiate with the United States on the matter of releasing two American prisoners until former detainee Kenneth Bae stops publicly talking about about his own time in the country's prisons.

SEE ALSO: North Korea says to push nuclear program, defying UN sanctions

North Korea arrested Bae, an American missionary, in 2012 and originally sentenced him to 15 years' labor in the country's notorious work camps. His release was secured two years later and he has written an account of his time there. The book, Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea, was released in May. Bae has done corresponding interviews and public appearances related to the book, which appear to have particularly offended the government.

"As long as Kenneth Bae continues his babbling, we will not proceed with any compromise or negotiations with the United States on the subject of American criminals, and there will certainly not be any such thing as humanitarian action," the state KCNA news agency of North Korea said Monday.

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General view of the capital with the Golf club near the river Taedong ,August 10,2005,in Pyongyang ,North Korea.

(Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the first party committee meeting in Pyongyang, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) December 25, 2016.

(KCNA KCNA / Reuters)

A general view of downtown street on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children practise table tennis against the wall in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

The Monument to the Party Founding is seen on April 3, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Cyclists ride along the banks of the Taedong River in front of the Grand People's Study House opposite the Tower of the Juche Idea. The 100,000 square metre building can house 30 million volumes and accommodate over 12,000 peeople daily; it contains 600 rooms.

(Photo by Alain Nogues/Alain Nogues/Corbis via Getty Images)

North korean pioneers going to pay respect to the dear leaders at mansudae art studio, pyongyang, North Korea on September 8, 2012 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us via Getty Images)

People commute on the bus near April 25 House of Culture, the venue of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) congress in Pyongyang, North Korea May 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Commuters queue for buses on October 30, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A man looks across Yalu River towards North Korea as he stands next to the bridge that connects China's Dandong, Liaoning province and North Korea's Sinuiju, September 10, 2016.

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

A soldier walks under portraits of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung (L) and former leader Kim Jong-il at Pyongyang's main square October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

O Yang Ran and her husband Kim Chol Nam pose during a photo session at Pyongyang Folk Park, October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

A boy dressed as solider wait for the bus with others in central Pyongyang, October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

A Chinese man washes his mop on February 14, 2012 in Dandong, China. Dandong lies on the border between China and North Korea and is the largest border city in China.

(Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)

A man rides a bicycle in a park on April 3, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Two North Korean boys make a fun on the street on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Commuters move by escalator at Puhung Subway station situated more than 100M below the surface, it is also an atomic shelter, on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children play football in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children perform in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children perform in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

The Immortal Statue of Kim Il Sung monument is seen on August 12, 2009 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Photo by NK News/Getty Images)

Portraits of President Kim Il Sung (L) and his son Kim Jong Il, current Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party and Chief General of the army, in the international conference room for Korea's reunification.

(Photo by Alain Nogues/Corbis via Getty Images)

This photo taken on January 7, 2017 and released on January 9, 2017 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows a joint conference of officials of the party, state, economic and armed forces organs to discuss ways for carrying through the tasks set forth by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in his New Year address in Pyongyang.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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"If Bae continues, U.S. criminals held in our country will be in the pitiful state of never being able to set foot in their homeland once again," the broadcast continued.

Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from Ohiowho was sentenced earlier this year to 15 years' hard labor for allegedly trying to steal a North Korean banner bearing the name of the former leader, Kim Jong Il. Additionally, in April, North Korea convicted Korea-American missionary Kim Dong Chul of crimes against the state, and sentenced him to 10 years of labor.

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"Because I was there for two years, during the 735 days that I was there, I spent time with people in the North and was able to get a better idea of their reality. I also got to see with my own eyes how difficult things are for them," Bae said in May. "If one day the South and North are reunified, wouldn't it be great if we could all live together and move forward as one nation? This has become one of my greatest hopes."

Washington and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations. Traditionally, the release of U.S. prisoners has been secured through high-profile American visit, such as Bill Clinton's in 2009 to secure the release of two imprisoned American journalists.

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