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North Korea says American deported for "plot-breeding"

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Wednesday that an American woman who frequently visited the North over nearly 20 years had been deported for "plot-breeding and propaganda."

The short announcement by the North's state media contained few details and it wasn't clear if the woman had been detained in the North and if her deportation had taken place or would soon.

The American was identified as Suh Sandra, likely following Korean style of using the surname first. It did not give her hometown.

The statement alleged that the woman traveled to North Korea several times "under the pretense of 'humanitarianism,'" but she had secretly produced and directed anti-North Korean videos and photos because of her "inveterate repugnancy" toward Pyongyang.

A U.S. Embassy official in Seoul didn't immediately have details about the report.

North Korea has occasionally detained Americans and other foreigners for what the cloistered country considered missionary work or "anti-state" activities that it sees as attempts to bring down its authoritarian government.

Analysts say past detentions have been attempts to wrest outside concessions out of Washington. Authorities in Pyongyang have also in the past staged news conferences, during which foreign detainees appeared before the media and made statements that they then recanted after their releases.

However, Wednesday's report appeared to be the first word about Suh Sandra.

Pyongyang said it decided to deport the American because of her "old age" and after she apologized and admitted that she'd "seriously insulted" its citizens' trust in leader Kim Jong Un.

Last year, the North released three Americans who had been detained - two who had entered the country on tourist visas and Kenneth Bae, a missionary convicted and sentenced for "anti-state" crimes. An Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity was also deported last year after he apologized for anti-state religious acts.