Euna Lee, Laura Ling
Former The View star Lisa Ling, whose sister is one of two U.S. journalists sentenced to 12-year prison terms in North Korea, said the women are sorry for entering the country, and pleaded again for their release.
Ling spoke on Anderson Cooper 360 soon after North Korea's official news agency reported that the women, sentenced to the country's notoriously brutal labor camps, had confessed to entering the country illegally. The agency said they had "extremely rude political motives to stifle and insult our nation's images."
The country hasn't made Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, both reporters for Current TV, available to their families or anyone else to confirm or deny that account.
"We haven't heard much out of North Korea so in a way we appreciated that they released these charges," Lisa Ling said. "We will say again as we've said before that when they left U.S. soil they never intended to cross into North Korea."
She said the women were working as journalists, not in any smear campaign against North Korea.
"According to the charges, they, uh, confessed, and so we know they're sorry, we are very sorry and we hope that the North Korean government now will show compassion and just let them come home."
She says her sister suffers from a recurring ulcer. Lee has a 4-year-old child at home.
"Her preschool graduation is next week," Lee's husband, actor Michael Saldate, told Cooper. "I was hoping that my wife would be back by then and she would be there and we could go together. But, I don't know. And my daughter is still being hopeful and she just asked that, you know, 'Is mommy coming home soon?' And I just said, 'just keep your hope up.'"
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the U.S. seeks the journalists' release on humanitarian grounds.