Mr. Merrill Freed After One Month Of Detention
North Korean authorities deported Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran who was held for more than a month in the communist country.
According to media reports, Mr. Newman was arrested from a plane on Oct. 26, when he was about to leave DPRK after a ten-day tour.
Mr. Newman is a former finance executive. His family has been worried about his health, because he has a heart condition. The former veteran was to arrive home Saturday morning in San Francisco.
North Korean authorities claimed that Mr. Newman was held for “hostile acts” he committed during his trip.
US Welcomed The Release Of Mr. Newman
Deputy Department Spokesperson Marie Harf made a statement saying that the US government was pleased that Mr. Merrill Newman was allowed to depart the DPRK and re-join his family.
“We welcome the DPRK’s decision to release him.” – Ms. Harf
The US thanked the Government of Sweden for the tireless efforts from the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang, which acts as the US Protecting Power in the DPRK.
Nuclear Issue Causing Strain For US-DPRK Relations?
The US is working with the international community to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear test has costly consequences.
In adopting Resolution 2087 in January after the December launch, the UN Security Council pledged to take “significant action” in the event of a nuclear test.
US is also strengthening its close coordination with its Six-Party partners and regional allies.
And through a whole-of-government approach, working closely with its partners in the Department of Defense and other agencies, the US said it will take the steps necessary to defend itself and its allies, particularly the ROK and Japan.
In addition, both Seoul and Tokyo were reassured at the highest levels, of the US commitment to extended deterrence through the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional capabilities, and missile defense.
The US indicated that North Korea’s WMD, ballistic missile, conventional arms, and proliferation activities constitute a serious and unacceptable threat to U.S. national security, as well as the integrity of the global nonproliferation regime, which many around the world have labored over generations to devise, nurture, and enforce.
The US asserts that effective, targeted multilateral and national sanctions will consequently remain a vital component of its efforts to impede the DPRK’s efforts to advance its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities.
Combined with the measures in resolutions 1718 and 1874, UNSCR 2087 further constricts North Korea’s efforts to procure weapons components, send agents abroad, smuggle dual-use items, and make headway on its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The US says it is actively engaged with the international community to underscore the importance of full enforcement of these measures.