| GEO World|
| North Korea confirms two Americans detained|
| Updated at: 1447 PST, Saturday, March 21, 2009|
SEOUL: North Korea on Saturday confirmed that it had detained two American journalists along the border with China earlier this week, amid tensions in the region over Pyongyang's plans for a rocket launch.
The US State Department had expressed concern over the fate of the two women, who are believed to have been taken into custody by border guards patrolling the Tumen River, a common escape route for those fleeing the North.
"Two Americans were detained on March 17 while illegally intruding into the territory of the DPRK by crossing the DPRK-China border," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a three-line dispatch.
"A competent organ is now investigating the case."
Diplomatic sources and media reports identified the two women as Euna Lee, a Korean-American, and Laura Ling, a Chinese-American, who work for a news channel in California.
A diplomatic source told reporters the two were held by security guards over "suspected border violations" after being caught Tuesday shooting video on the North's side of the river.