(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — The North Korea state media is reporting that the American tourist who has been detained in North Korea has apologized for alleged crimes he committed during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” committed during a recent visit to the country.
Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old veteran from Palo Alto, Calif., has reportedly been held in North Korea for more than one month.
North Korean authorities released video of Newman reading the apology. In it, Newman apparently admits to trying to meet with any surviving soldiers he had trained to fight North Korea during the Korean War.
Newman said in the video, “I asked my guide to help me to look for their families and relatives living in DPRK, and I gave the document written with their addresses and email addresses to the guide in the Yanggakdo Hotel.”
It is believed Newman may have been forced to make the statement.
Gordon Chang, who has spent the past decade studying the Korean Peninsula and is author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World, says it’s understandable that Korean War veterans want to return to North Korea, but it is too dangerous.
“North Korea uses people as pawns,” Chang said. “Merill Newman is the seventh American detained since 2009.”
Chang said he believes Newman’s fate is uncertain. “I suspect that Newman will be released, especially since he signed the confession, but this is really up in the air at the moment.”
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