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U.S. Man Returns Home After North Korea Releases Him

An American Korean War veteran has returned to the United States after being detained for more than a month in North Korea.

Eighty-five-year-old Merrill Newman arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday accompanied by his wife and son.

He told reporters he is tired, but that he has experienced a "great homecoming". He thanked U.S. and Swedish diplomats for helping secure his release.

Newman flew to San Francisco from Beijing, after being deported early Saturday by North Korean authorities.

He had been visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was removed from an airplane October 26 as he prepared to leave the country.



Last month, the North's official Korean Central News Agency posted a video of Newman reading an apology aloud, confessing to alleged crimes during the Korean War and so-called hostile acts.

North Korea's news agency said Saturday Newman was released on humanitarian grounds because he had admitted wrongdoing and apologized.

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

Newman's release came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited South Korea. Mr. Biden said he had spoken with Newman by phone after his release.

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