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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Thursday it was its sovereign right to "ruthlessly punish" American citizens it has detained for crimes against its government system, saying U.S. media's description of such arrests as a bargaining ploy was "pure ignorance."

The North's KCNA news agency said the crimes of recent Americans detained by its authorities will soon be revealed.

Two American citizens affiliated with a private university in the North's capital have been detained in the past month.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; editing by John Stonestreet)

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