WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Monday called for the release of U.S. nationals held in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including an octogenarian detained of late.
"We're deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in custody in the DPRK," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a regular press briefing.
He cited continuing U.S. appeal for the DPRK to set free Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American man who was detained in the DPRK in November last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for "hostile acts" against the country in late April.
"We also urge the immediate release of Merrill Newman, who was detained more recently," Carney said. "Given Mr. Newman's advanced age and health conditions, we urge the DPRK to release Mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family."
The DPRK confirmed on Saturday that it had arrested Merrill Newman, a U.S. Korean War veteran aged 85, for committing "hostile acts" against the country under the guise of a tourist.
Newman, who entered the DPRK as a member of a tourist group on Oct. 17, had apologized for alleged crimes during the 1950-53 Korean War and "espionage and subversive activities" against the DPRK during his recent trip, according to the country's official KCNA news agency.