News / USA

American Detained in N. Korea Makes Fresh Appeal for US Help

VOA News
Detained Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae has made a fresh appeal to the United States to work for his release from a North Korean labor camp.

Bae's comments come after Pyongyang for the second time in recent weeks withdrew an invitation for a senior American envoy to visit and discuss Bae's release.

In an interview released Tuesday by the Chosun Sinbo newspaper, Bae said his poor health makes it hard to work the required eight hours a day at the labor camp.

"I think it is very difficult to continuously work here in the longer term, as I still have a lot of pain in my back and legs. Therefore, if it is delayed again, I might likely have to get long-term treatment in a hospital. I hope that my issue gets tied up as soon as possible so that I can return to the arms of my loving family," said Bae.

The interview was conducted Friday by the Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper, which was able to visit Bae along with a Swedish Embassy official.

Bae expressed hope about the planned visit of Robert King, the U.S. Special Envoy for Human Rights Issues. His comments came just days before the North cancelled the visit, prompting rebukes from the U.S.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said the U.S. was "deeply disappointed" by the move. He cautioned Pyongyang against linking Bae's case with upcoming U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

"We remind the D.P.R.K. that the U.S.-R.O.K. military exercises are transparent, regularly scheduled and defense-oriented. These exercises are in no way linked to Mr. Bae's case, and we believe they know that," said Carney.

The State Department said it also supports efforts by U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson to help win Bae's release. It said Jackson has offered to travel to North Korea at the request of Bae's family.

Also Monday, North Korea received a different American delegation.

A group led by Donald Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul, arrived in Pyongyang Monday at the invitation of the North Korean Foreign Ministry. Lynn Turk, another former U.S. diplomat, who held talks in Pyongyang in the 1990s, said they were there "to build bridges" between their countries. Neither Turk nor Gregg mentioned Bae.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit South Korea later this week; issues concerning Pyongyang are likely to dominate the talks.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department said the 45-year-old Bae has been transferred from a hospital to a labor camp.

North Korea arrested Bae in late 2012 and later sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor on charges of trying to overthrow the government.

Calls for his release on humanitarian grounds have gone unanswered.

Bae was born in South Korea and emigrated to the United States with his parents and sister in 1985. He was living in China as a Christian missionary for about seven years before his arrest.

Within the last few years, he began leading small tour groups, mostly of American and Canadian citizens, into a "special economic zone" designed to encourage commerce in northeastern North Korea.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid