Release American now, U.S. tells N. Korea
WASHINGTON — The United States called on Thursday for North Korea to grant amnesty and immediately release a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years' hard labor for what it said were “hostile acts” against the state.
Kenneth Bae, 44, a Washington state man described by friends as a devout Christian, is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released without serving out their terms, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former President Clinton.
Analysts said Bae's sentencing could be an effort by Pyongyang to win diplomatic concessions in the ongoing standoff over its nuclear program. But there was no immediate sign a high-profile envoy was about to make a clemency mission to the isolated nation, which has taken an increasingly bellicose stance under Kim Jong Un.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said, “There's no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad, and we urge (North Korean) authorities to grant Mr. Bae amnesty and immediate release.”
Pyongyang has found itself under increasing pressure from the West, which deplored its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. The United Nations expanded sanctions against the communist state in March.
Patrick Cronin, a senior analyst with the Center for a New American Security, called Bae's conviction “a hasty gambit to force a direct dialogue with the United States.”
Meanwhile, North Korea “will move closer” to its announced goal of being able to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed missile if it keeps investing in tests of nuclear and missile technology, the Pentagon said Thursday in a report to Congress.
The unclassified version of the report, which was required by a 2012 law, offered no estimate of when North Korea might achieve that capability.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chinese jet buzzes Navy aircraft, Pentagon says
- Witnesses recount secret July raid to free journalist at ISIS base in Syria
- Russia sends unauthorized convoy into Ukraine
- Ebola viral disease prompts U.S. travel warning to West Africa
- Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberian treatment centers inundated
- Interpol probes Thailand’s ‘Baby Factory’
- 18 accused spies executed by Gaza terrorists
- 35 migrants found in shipping container in U.K.; 1 dead
- Social media being used to help catch British terrorist who killed Foley
- Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza
- Gaza militants kill 18 alleged spies for Israel