WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. State Department on Friday welcomed the decision of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to release American veteran Merrill Newman.
"We are pleased that Mr. Merrill Newman has been allowed to depart the DPRK and re-join his family," spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. "We welcome the DPRK's decision to release him."
She again called for Pyongyang to set free Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American 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.
"This positive decision by the DPRK throws into sharper relief the continuing detention of Mr. Kenneth Bae, who has been in DPRK custody for over a year," Harf said.
"We call on the DPRK once again to pardon and grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediately release him as a humanitarian gesture so that he too can return home to his family," she added.
She thanked the Swedish government, whose embassy acts in Washington's interest in Pyongyang, for its "tireless efforts."
Newman, an 85-year-old U.S. Korean War veteran, was detained by the DPRK after he entered the country as a member of a tourist group on Oct. 17.
Pyongyang accused him of committing "hostile acts" against the country under the guise of a tourist, claiming last week that he had apologized for alleged crimes during the 1950-53 Korean War and "espionage and subversive activities" against the DPRK during his recent trip.
During his visit to South Korea on Friday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said he had offered to fly Newman home by his Air Force Two plane, but the man declined, saying there was a direct flight to San Francisco.
Biden said he had played "no direct role" in Newman's release, but also urged Pyongyang to return Bae immediately, according to the White House.
White House urges DPRK to release U.S. citizens
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. Full story
DPRK confirms detention of U.S. veteran
PYONGYANG, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Saturday that it had arrested a U.S. Korean War veteran for committing hostile acts against the country under the guise of a tourist.
Pyongyang accused Merrill Edward Newman of being "a criminal" who was involved in the killing of civilians during the 1950-53 Korean War. Full story