White House renews urge for N. Korea to release Kenneth Bae

White House renews urge for N. Korea to release Kenneth Bae

White House renews urge for N. Korea to release Kenneth Bae

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 30, 2013 at 4:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- The White House renewed its call Saturday for North Korea to release a former University of Oregon student and an 85-year-old U.S. veteran.

Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years in prison after the country's Supreme Court found him guilty of "plotting to overthrow the government.” He has been held in the country for more than a year.

Bae is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in South Korea but most recently lived in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood.

Background: U.S. calls for NKorea amnesty for jailed American Bae

"We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in custody in the DPRK," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

Retired finance executive Merrill Newman, who fought in the Korean War, was taken off a plane Oct. 26 by North Korean authorities while preparing to leave after a 10-day visit.

Newman's son has said his father wanted to return to the country where he spent three years during the war.

"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,"  Hayden said.

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