December 07, 2013
Korean War Veteran Arrives in Beijing After Being Released from North Korea
A U.S. Korean War veteran has arrived in China after being released from custody and deported from North Korea.
Officials from the U.S. Embassy greeted 85-year-old Merrill Newman at the airport in Beijing Saturday.
He had been visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was removed from an airplane October 26 as he prepared to leave the country.
A few days later, the North's official Korean Central News Agency posted a video of Newman reading an apology aloud, confessing to alleged crimes during the Korean War and so-called "hostile acts" against the state.
The North Korean news agency said Saturday that Newman had been released on humanitarian grounds because he had admitted wrongdoing and apologized.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Saturday called Newman's release a positive decision, but urged Pyongyang to also release another American, Kenneth Bae, who has been held there for over a year. Bae is a Korean-American missionary and tour operator. He is being held for alleged subversion.
Harf thanked the government of Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea because the U.S. does not have an embassy there.
Upon hearing about the release, Vice President Joe Biden, visiting in South Korea, welcomed the news and also called for the release of Bae.