He was released in an apparent gesture of detente
The American Elder Merrill Newman arrived in San Francisco after spending several weeks detained in North Korea after Pyongyang released him in an apparent gesture of detente.
The North Korean regime freed him by surprise the old man held in custody for more than a month on charges of espionage, in a decision that can help reduce tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, says the agency Efe.
In a statement issued by the state agency KCNA, Pyongyang announced its decision to deport Merrill Newman, 85, the U.S. considering “a humanitarian point of view” and given “sincere regret” for the crime and “his advanced age and health status.”
Reader’s overview of this release?
Soon after, the State Department welcomed the decision in a statement signed by its deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, who thanked the “tireless efforts” to free Newman of Sweden, whose embassy in Pyongyang hosts a representation of the U.S. that maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea.
Newman arrived at Beijing airport where expressed his joy “to be on the way home” to reporters and thanked the “tolerance” of the North Korean regime.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Want to go home and see my wife,” said the American who had a healthy, Efe reported.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is visiting South Korea, also received as welcome the decision of Pyongyang.
“It’s a positive gesture which has been carried out,” said Biden was quoted by Yonhap news agency during his visit to the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.
Although KCNA did not specify details on the release of Newman, the Japanese agency Kyodo confirmed hours after the arrival of the U.S., who traveled on a flight from Pyongyang to Beijing Capital International Airport, from where he flew home.
Newman, a veteran of the Korean War (1950-1953), conducted in October a private tour of 10 days by China.
On October 26, completed his journey and when his plane preparing to take off in the direction of Pyongyang to Beijing, was arrested by North Korean authorities.
In the note, the state agency Korean Central News insisted that Newman was arrested for entering the country “under the guise of a tourist to confirm the location of spies and terrorists were trained and sent by him, an intelligence officer in during the last war in Korea.”
The KCNA already issued a November 30 images in which Newman apologized for having tried to contact survivors of the “Kuwol Unit”, a guerrilla group formed during the war to carry out subversive activities in North Korea.
The regime also accused him of “violating the sovereignty” of North Korea have brought reading material criticizing led by Kim Jong-un regime.
Agence France Press added that Newman suffered heart problems. His family said he was arrested on October 26 minutes before he left the North Korean capital.
Newman, a retired financial executive who was in North Korea during the war, released a video in which he apologized and confessed his crimes were reported by the official press.
U.S. urges release another citizen
United States but remembered another of its citizens, Kenneth Bae, takes more than a year in jail in that country and urged his “immediate” release, Efe said in another part informative.
“We are pleased to have been permitted to leave Merrill Newman North Korea and return to her family. Welcome the North Korean decision to release him,” said Deputy State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf said in a statement.
According Harf, this “positive decision” North Korean “gets even more attention to the continuing detention of Mr. Kenneth Bae, leading into North Korean custody over a year.”
Bae, known by his Korean name Bae Joon-ho was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced on April 30 by the North Korean Supreme Court to 15 years hard labor for violating Article 60 of the Constitution of the country papers, which implies commit a crime in order “to overthrow the regime.”
“We call on North Korea once again to forgive Mr. Bae, grant special amnesty and release him immediately as a humanitarian gesture so that he can also return home with his family,” said Harf.
“The U.S. government will continue to work actively in their case,” he added.