Friday 26 December 2014

White House urges North Korea to release 85-year-old US citizen

Published 30/11/2013 | 21:18

U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman reads from a piece of paper at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on November 30, 2013. North Korea said on Saturday it had arrested Newman for "hostile acts" against the state and accused him of being "a criminal" who was involved in the killing of civilians during the 1950-53 Korean War.      REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY) POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS  THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Merrill E. Newman reads from a piece of paper at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency

The White House urged North Korea on Saturday to release Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War who has been held in North Korean custody since last month.

"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," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

The White House also urged North Korean authorities to release Kenneth Bae, an American who has been held in the country for more than a year.

"We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in custody in the DPRK," Hayden said in a statement.

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