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North Korea Deports US Veteran

North Korea says it has deported an elderly U.S. veteran it was holding for alleged "hostile acts" against the communist country.

North Korea's official news agency, KCNA said Saturday that 85-year-old Merrill Newman had been released on humanitarian grounds because he had admitted wrongdoing and apologized.

The California native was veteran of the 1950-53 Korean War.

He was visiting North Korea with a valid visa when he was removed from an airplane October 26 as he prepared to depart the country.

A few days later, KCNA time posted a video of Newman reading the purported apology aloud. It was not clear whether the American wrote the statement or if he was coerced into writing it.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Saturday called Newman's release a positive decision, but urged North Korea to also release another American, Kenneth Bae, who's been held there for over a year. Bae is a Korean-American missionary and tour operator. He's 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.

The news of Newman's deportation comes as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wraps up his three-nation tour of Asia with the last stop in South Korea.

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