News / Asia

US Envoy Urges N. Korea to Release Detained Americans

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Glyn Davies gestures as he speaks to reporters at a hotel in Beijing, China Nov. 21, 2013.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Glyn Davies gestures as he speaks to reporters at a hotel in Beijing, China Nov. 21, 2013.
William Ide
Washington’s top envoy to North Korea urged Pyongyang to free two detained American citizens. The call comes amid reports this week that in addition to holding a U.S.-Korean Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, North Korea has also recently detained a 85-year-old U.S. citizen.

According to media reports, Merrill Newman, a former Korean War veteran, was taken from a plane late last month as he was about to depart from North Korea.

This photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, 2005.This photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, 2005.
x
This photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, 2005.
This photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, 2005.
The U.S. government has not directly confirmed the detention, citing privacy laws, and North Korea has yet to comment on the situation.

Speaking with reporters in Beijing Thursday, visiting U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Glyn Davies urged Pyongyang to think long and hard about the two cases, noting the fate of Americans abroad was a core concern.

“We of course are calling on North Korea, as in the case of Mr. Kenneth Bae, who has now been there for over a year, to resolve the issue, and to allow our citizens to go free," Davies said.

The envoy is touring Asia this week amid a renewed push to restart long-stalled talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.

He didn’t draw a clear line between the cases and the international community’s broader efforts, but the cases are one of several examples of issues frustrating the resumption of nuclear talks with the North.

Davies says his talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei were fulfilling. But there was no clear sign that a return to the six-party talks that include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States would resume any time soon.

“This really is up to North Korea," noted Davies. "It's North Korea who seems not seriously interested in making meaningful progress on the nuclear issue. And until we see a manifestation of North Korean seriousness, it's very difficult for me to know what the prospects are for getting back to Six Party."

In recent months, North Korea has been talking about restarting some of its nuclear programs at the same it has suggested new proposals for its return to six-nation talks on ending its atomic programs. The North has also been stressing a dual policy of nuclear and economic development.

North Korea pulled out of the six party-talks in 2009 and says it is willing to return to the table as long as there are no pre-conditions.

In the past, Pyongyang has been accused of using foreign detainees as bargaining chips in negotiations with Western countries over its controversial nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009. While some were given harsh prison sentences, all were eventually released. In most cases, their release followed visits by high-ranking former or current U.S. officials.

Merrill Newman's son has told CNN that it was his father's "life-long dream" to see the North and its culture, after serving in the South as a U.S. infantry officer in the 1950s. He said his father arranged the trip through a North Korea-approved Chinese tour company and had "all the proper visas."

Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
x
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Newman's detention comes almost a year after the arrest of Kenneth Bae, who was detained last November. He was later convicted of state subversion and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

Bae was detained after entering North Korea as a tour operator. His family says he has diabetes and is in ill health.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joe from: Citizen
November 21, 2013 9:33 AM
Newman is in serious trouble, a pawn in international relations but also an infantry officer during the war. They may contrive to try him as a war criminal, he may be the last victim of that war.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid