User Login    
 + Register
PDQ Cleaning
News : North Korea Detains 85 Year Old U.S. War Veteran
Posted by Randy on 2013/11/21 6:33:25 (438 reads) News by the same author

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korean officials detained an 85-year-old American veteran of the Korean War last month as he sat in a plane set to leave the country, the man's son said.

Click to see original Image in a new window

A uniformed North Korean officer boarded the plane on Oct. 26 and asked Merrill Newman, a tourist from Palo Alto, California, for his passport before telling a stewardess that Newman had to leave the plane, the son, Jeffrey Newman, said Wednesday.

"My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that's the last he was seen," Jeffrey Newman told The Associated Press at his home in Pasadena, California.

It wasn't clear what led to the detention. The son said he was speaking regularly with the U.S. State Department about his father, but U.S. officials wouldn't confirm the detention to reporters, citing privacy issues. North Korea's official state-run media have yet to comment on reports of the detention, which first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Japan's Kyodo News service.

The son said that, according to his father's traveling companion, Newman earlier had a "difficult" discussion with North Korean officials about his experiences during the 1950-53 war between U.S.-led United Nations forces and North Korea and ally China. That war ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically at war. The war is still an important part of North Korean propaganda, which regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of trying to bring down its political system - statements analysts believe are aimed in part at shoring up domestic support for young leader Kim Jong Un.

The detention comes about a year after North Korea detained another American and as the U.S. State Department warns in a formal notice that Americans should avoid travel to the country, in part because of the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention.

North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009, often for alleged missionary work, but it is unusual for a tourist to be arrested. The North's secretive, authoritarian government is sensitive about foreign travelers, and tourists are closely monitored. Analysts say it has used detained Americans as diplomatic pawns in a long-running standoff with the United States over the North's nuclear bomb production, something it denies.

Speaking Thursday to reporters in Beijing, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies wouldn't confirm Newman's detention but said, generally, that Washington was working with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which acts as America's protecting power because Washington and Pyongyang don't have official diplomatic relations, "to try to move this issue along and of course calling on North Korea ... to resolve the issue and to allow our citizens to go free."

Merrill Newman was traveling with his friend, Bob Hamrdla, who was allowed to return. Hamrdla said in a statement that "there has to be a terrible misunderstanding" and asked for Newman to be quickly returned to his family.

Jeffrey Newman said his father always wanted to visit North Korea and took lessons in the language before leaving on the nine-day trip. Newman said he believed the inspiration came from the three years his father spent as an infantry officer in the Korean War, but said his father never talked about his service.

Jeffrey Newman said the Swedish ambassador had delivered his father's heart medication to the North Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry, but it was unclear whether he had received it.

Despite some recent nuclear diplomacy, tensions remain on the Korean Peninsula after a spring that saw threats from North Korea of nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul. International disarmament talks are currently deadlocked, with North Korea demanding status as an atomic power and Washington refusing to resume the talks until the North makes progress on past disarmament commitments. The North is estimated to have a handful of crude nuclear devices and has conducted three underground atomic tests.

Davies, the U.S. envoy, told reporters that the holding of American citizens by North Korea is a further indication of its lack of sincerity on restarting a dialogue on nuclear issues.

Washington also has expressed worry about the health of American Kenneth Bae, a missionary and tour operator who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being arrested in North Korea last November for alleged hostile acts.

Jeffrey Newman said he believed North Korea would eventually release his father after realizing that all they have is an "elderly traveler, a grandfather with a heart condition."

"We don't know what this misunderstanding is all about," he said. "All we want as a family is to have my father, my kids' grandfather, returned to California so he can be with his family for Thanksgiving."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/4/22 10:41:35 - Young Family Trusts To Benefit NCMC Students
2015/4/22 10:01:35 - Herrera Suspended, Ventura Fined For Throwing At Lawrie
2015/4/22 9:50:00 - Plattsburg Girls, Trenton Boys Win Team Titles At TMS Relays
2015/4/22 8:34:10 - Hog Farm Dispute Brings Large Audience To Grundy County Courthouse
2015/4/22 8:30:00 - Chillicothe Boys Win Cameron Relays, Trenton Girls Finish Third
2015/4/22 8:28:38 - Hornets Sweep Bulldogs In Varsity Tennis
2015/4/22 8:20:18 - Trenton Golfers Beat Chillicothe In Tuesday Duel
2015/4/22 8:12:56 - Applications Being Sought For Livestock-Related Honor
2015/4/22 8:02:57 - Route A, In Southwest Mercer County, To Close On Thursday
2015/4/22 7:54:05 - Highway Patrol Sergeant Recognized For Life-Saving Efforts During September Flooding
2015/4/22 7:44:27 - Oklahoma Rape Suspect Arrested Along I-35 In Northwest Missouri
2015/4/22 7:38:43 - University Of Missouri Receives Bomb Threat, "All Clear" Issued
2015/4/22 7:33:15 - Maryville Teen Passes Away After Monday Night Wreck
2015/4/22 7:30:00 - Maysville Woman Dies In Gentry County Accident
2015/4/21 18:08:10 - Mizzou Adds Illinois JUCO Duo To 2015-2016 Hoops Roster
2015/4/21 18:03:06 - NCMC Swept In Baseball Double-Dip At Crowder
2015/4/21 17:55:16 - Trenton's Croy Challenges Strong Helias Squad At Macon Tournament
2015/4/21 17:50:06 - LeBlond Dominates Tennis Duel At Trenton
2015/4/21 17:50:00 - NCMC Softball Seeded #4 In Region 16 Tournament
2015/4/21 9:50:00 - TMS Boys Win Brookfield Relays
2015/4/21 9:40:00 - Trenton's "City-Wide Garage Sales" Coming Saturday
2015/4/21 9:30:00 - Animal Feeding Operation Proposed In Rural Grundy County
2015/4/21 9:29:09 - New Date Set For Grundy County Murder Trial
2015/4/21 9:20:00 - Putnam County Accident Injures Lucerne Man
2015/4/21 9:13:30 - Gallatin Native Ties Masters Champion In PGA Event
2015/4/21 9:10:00 - Linn County Accident Sends Two To Columbia Hospital
2015/4/21 9:07:09 - Webb City Offensive Lineman Verbals To Mizzou
2015/4/21 8:15:57 - Royals Recall Calixte From Omaha, Demote Fuentes
2015/4/20 14:00:57 - Chillicothe Police Arrest Man On Marijuana Possession Charges
2015/4/20 11:29:17 - Speed Limit For U.S. 65 In Trenton Drops To 45 MPH



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM