News Column

North Korea Withdraws Invite to Release American

August 30, 2013

North Korea has withdrawn an invitation to a US special envoy who was to travel there on a humanitarian mission focused on securing the release US citizen Kenneth Bae, the State Department announced Friday.

"We are surprised and disappointed by North Korea's decision," the State Dept said.

The special envoy, Robert King, was to travel at the invitation of Pyongyang.

Bae was arrested in North in November 2012 and was convicted April 30 by the North Korean Supreme Court of committing hostile acts against North Korea and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour.

King was to ask Pyongyang to pardon Bae and grant him special amnesty on humanitarian grounds so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical treatment.

Bae, 45, suffers from chronic diabetes and other health problems, his family has said. Earlier this month he was moved to a hospital.

"We remain gravely concerned about Mr. Bae's health and we continue to urge the DPRK (North Korean) authorities to grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds," the State Department concluded.

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Source: Copyright Deutsche Presse-Agentur ??? Engl 2013

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