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.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
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:

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?
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