News / Asia

White House Urges N. Korea to Release US Citizen

In image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman puts thumbprint on paper after being taken into custody by North Korea as tourist, undisclosed, Nov. 30, 2013.
In image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman puts thumbprint on paper after being taken into custody by North Korea as tourist, undisclosed, Nov. 30, 2013.
VOA News
The White House is calling on North Korea to release an elderly American and veteran of the Korean War who has been held in North Korean custody since late October.
 
A White House statement Saturday urged Pyongyang to allow 85-year-old Merrill Newman, who suffers from a heart condition, to "return home and reunite with his family."
 
Newman, a California native, was visiting North Korea with a valid visa when he was removed from an airplane October 26 as he prepared to depart the country.
 
Earlier Saturday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency confirmed it had detained Newman. The report said he had apologized for "crimes" during the Korean war, and for "hostile acts" against the state during his October visit.
 
According to reports by Reuters, KCNA said Saturday that Newman "allegedly tried to meet with surviving soldiers he had trained to fight the North during the Korean War."
 
KCNA 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.
 
The White House statement also called for the release of Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who is serving a 15-year prison term for "state subversion."
 
The 46-year-old Christian preacher was detained in November 2012, after entering the country as a tour operator. His family says he has diabetes and is in ill health.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: James from: Florida
December 01, 2013 6:17 PM
Hr may have had good motives for his visit, albeit risky. At 85 it might be very important to him.
NK is using him to taunt us and create pulp for it's suffering masses. I am surprised there has not been a demand for food or fuel to ransom this patriotic American. Dennis Rodman should call his ugly pal, In, and seek immediate release.

In Response

by: John from: USA
December 02, 2013 3:17 AM
James, I don't understand the logic behind more and more idiots venturing into N.Korea and getting caught and then having to send some past US presidents there to secure their release. If it was an isolated case I can understand. Carter had to go there a couple of times to get the release of 2 people, then Clinton went to get the release of 2 girls, then the New Mexico governor Bill Richardson went to get the release of some one else. Now 2 more people need to get released from there. When will we ever learn?


by: John from: USA
December 01, 2013 6:14 PM
Technically US is still at war with North Korea. The cease fire agreement signed between the 2 nations was torn off by the North Korean dictator about a year or so ago. I am not sure why US state department lets any civilian to travel to North Korea. There are so many other places in this world where this 85 year old could have visited, and he has to be a moron to go back to a country where he fought against those people and another American Mr.Bae is still held captive. I wonder whether there was some book deal involved where he could make some money by writing about the horrible conditions in North Korea.


by: Anonymous
December 01, 2013 6:07 PM
wheres dennis rodman when you need him?


by: Kool Lucian from: Thailand
December 01, 2013 5:42 PM
Mr Obama, say "Please"? Or go ask for China's help.


by: jon from: Michigan
December 01, 2013 5:35 PM
If Reagan were in office he would have been home three weeks ago.

In Response

by: Kool Lucian from: Thailand
December 01, 2013 7:07 PM
Quite right. These Dem libs can't be trusted with US foreign policy. Maybe it's time for a patsy US to pass the baton to China as the world's keeper of "peace" but keep your piece (pun intended) well or China will grab it.


by: Randy from: USA
December 01, 2013 5:13 PM
I'm tired of hearing about North Korea doing this or doing that. They are just going to keep being an annoyance until someone wipes them off the map.


by: Tony from: St Petersburg, FL
December 01, 2013 4:53 PM
You have got to be the dumbest human being on the face of this earth to travel North Korea, especially if you are an American. I mean seriously, do these people live under a rock or something? There is always someone being detained against their will on a regular basis over their.


by: JT from: CA, USA
December 01, 2013 4:47 PM
The world should stand united against human cruelty. It would be good to strike a war with Nkorea, destroy their nuclear facilities and make them understand the consequences of doing such actions.

Can't the US or UN do something to help the people living in North Korea. Free them from the dicator. Can't human rights not help during this situation.


by: rocket7777 from: universe
December 01, 2013 2:46 PM
History is written by winners and people only know prapaganda history. Usa had "kill em all" and even killed kids and babies so all usa troops are guilty of atrocity and war crime.
Google “Kill 'em All': The American Military in Korea”
This guy trained others do even worse. North korea also canceled armistice earlier this year so it is at war.

Untold history you can wiki:
Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_%28South_Korea%29
Prostitution_in_South_Korea
Human_trafficking_in_South_Korea
Prostitutes_in_South_Korea_for_the_U.S._military
United_States_war_crimes
Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States


by: Mike from: Dallas, Texas
November 30, 2013 9:06 PM
If I go piss directly into the wind, will the White House buy me new pants?

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid