NEW YORK | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that he is making personal efforts to try to free two U.S. journalists imprisoned in North Korea and that he played a role in the release last month of another jailed journalist in Iran.
"I have taken my own effort to facilitate any release of these American journalists, but I have not heard anything," he told The Washington Times on Sunday. "You can understand my frustration."
The two women -- Laura Ling and Euna Lee -- were sentenced earlier this month to 12 years of hard labor after they were arrested near the China-North Korea border in March.
U.S. and other efforts to free them have so far failed, and the two appear to have become victims of the deterioration in relations between North Korea and much of the rest of the world since the North carried out a second nuclear test and fired off a ballistic missile.
"I am doing all I can do," said Mr. Ban, who served as South Korea's foreign minister before becoming the first Asian U.N. secretary-general since U Thant of Burma served, from 1961 to 1971.