North Korea announced on Saturday that Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American in its custody since early November, was being tried in Supreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, a crime that could draw the death penalty if convicted.

Mr. Bae was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea’s far northeastern region bordering China and Russia, according to official state media. The exact nature of his alleged crimes has not been revealed, but North Korea accuses Mr. Bae, described as a tour operator, of seeking to overthrow North Korea’s leadership.

In 2009, North Korea had custody of two American journalists, whose eventual release after being sentenced to 12 years of hard labour paved way for diplomacy.

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