Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another American detained in North Korea?

This is what is being reported, and apparently it is not an ethnic Korean (like some previous occupants of the Pyongyang Palazzo). Smart money, however, is on it being someone with a religious motive.

Not that I wish to disparage those with a religious motivation, since a lot of the people doing the heavy lifting and dirty work to move North Korean refugees along the underground railroad from China to a third country (or into consulates and embassies within China) are Christian clergy and laypeople.

From Reuters, via Huffington Post:
North Korea may have detained an elderly U.S. man last month who entered the country on a tourist visa, Kyodo News Service said on Wednesday, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

Kyodo, in a report from Beijing, said the possible detention could become another diplomatic bargaining chip for North Korea, which has held Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American Christian missionary, since November 2012. Bae has been sentenced by the Pyongyang regime to 15 years of hard labour.

The U.S. State Department echoed U.S. embassy officials in Beijing and Seoul who said they were aware of the reports but could not confirm them.

North Korea claims the man, who apparently is not of Korean descent, has broken the law, according to Kyodo. The man entered North Korea for sightseeing last month with a valid visa, Kyodo quoted the diplomatic source as saying.
Detaining American citizens seems to be a cottage industry in the DPRK.

North Korea has acknowledged detaining a Korean War veteran named Mr Merrill Newman, and there is speculation that they may have mistaken him for a Silver Star recipient of the same name.



  1. Merrill Newman, the American citizen detained, is (I understand) 85 years old.

    This detainment is a grossly inhumane act, and further evidence, if any be needed, that the North Korean regime should be condemned.

    1. Yeah, I haven't had a chance to update this UNTIL NOW, but the reports are that he's an elderly veteran of the Korean War. It made me wonder if North Korea is going to use him to make the case of American war crimes during the Korean War to undermine support for the US presence. Frankly, that would be a stroke of public relations genius.

      Naturally, such an argument would be Bruce Cumings-esque in its wholesale disregard of the far, far, far, far worse atrocities of the North Koreans (who, by the way, started the war in the first place), but an ignorant populace and a sensationalist press might not bother to put things in that kind of perspective.


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