American Detained in North Korea Arrives Home in California

Read scripted apology last month for killing during Korean War

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Kyodo / Reuters

Merrill Newman arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, Dec. 7, 2013.

North Korea has released an 85-year-old American and Korean War veteran after he was held in the country for more than a month.

Merrill Newman, a tourist who was detained since late October for his alleged crimes during the Korean War, arrived home in California Saturday, the Associated Press reports.

“I am very glad to be on my way home,” Newman said after arriving at the airport in Beijing from Pyongyang. “And I appreciate the tolerance the [North Korean] government has given me to be on my way.”

Newman read a scripted apology last month, confessing to killing North Koreans during the war. It was the first time he had been heard from since authorities seized him from a plane headed back to the United States on Oct. 26 after a 10-day tour. The vet led South Korea guerrilla fighters during the Korean War, but was never involved in the day-to-day operations, according to former members of his troop.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is traveling in Seoul, offered Newman return on Air Force Two, but Newman opted for a direct flight home to California on Saturday instead.

North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009 but has released or deported five. Kenneth Bae, an American who has been held for more than a year, remains captive. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf has asked Pyongyang to pardon Bae “as a humanitarian gesture.”

[AP]

30 comments
PeterGagnon
PeterGagnon

Apparently age doesn't make everyone wiser, embarrassed himself and other vets with his confession, imbecile.

Phaerisee
Phaerisee

You shall tread upon the asp and the viper, you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.  Welcome home, Sir!

Denesius
Denesius

Well Mr Newman, I see you made it back safe & sound.  What say we go to Iran next month & spout our religion, or perhaps to Cuba & sing the praises of capitalism, or Saudi Arabia & push for women's right to wear bikinis.  I'm sure you won't have any issue with pulling another idiotic stunt, embarrassing your government and perpetuating the worldwide perception of American arrogance & ignorance.  At least you provided fodder for the news outlets during a quiet week.

Little Manly
Little Manly

Big DEAL. He wanted to get Home to see his family as soon as possible. Makes perfect sense to me.

Harrison Joshua Cande
Harrison Joshua Cande

Does Human history work by Human Brains listening to the smartest Brain, granting it influence in proportion to the quantitative capabilities of that Brain compared to others?

Jen Jen
Jen Jen

I don't blame him. I don't think I could take 12-hrs in an enclosed space w him either LOL

Viet Tran
Viet Tran

I am glad he is safe and sound

Harrison Joshua Cande
Harrison Joshua Cande

What happens in history when an individual demonstrates an unwavering devotion to the spread of thinking and imagination?

George Sol'Manuel Zino
George Sol'Manuel Zino

He was not sure of his safety on Airforce 2, maybe. He probably thought he might just been thrown out mid-air. Anyway I'm glad he's back home, this should serve as a warning to Americans thinking of going on a tour of Iran and North korea.

Jon Butler
Jon Butler

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Eileen W. Cho
Eileen W. Cho

What a cool guy. Glad he's released and able to be home!

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed

Oh, north korea should have taken their trial in their Guantanamo kind of prison..

Openminded1
Openminded1

This is a dumb senior not only did he travel to NK, like it was some exotic travel destination. The moron opened is senile mouth while in country. Then the Moron turns down a once in a life time chance to fly back on AF2 with the Vice President for free. This moron opts out to fly commercial. The is dumb ass got what he deserved for his stupid adventure.

Openminded1
Openminded1

Safe, i am not so sure he is sound, he is a moron.

Denesius
Denesius

They are ultimately praised & immortalized. But I sure hope you're not referring to this idiot. And if by chance you are, dig a little deeper into the stunt he pulled that got him jailed in the first place.

Openminded1
Openminded1

If you are telling the truth, i feel for you. but this is not the forum for your plea. You must be desperate, try a family law attorney, or law clinic that may help you even pro-bono. good luck.

Openminded1
Openminded1

Cool or stupid, I lean toward stupid.

HTBjarnason
HTBjarnason

Any particular reason why you feel the need to badmouth him?  Just refer to him by his name and no need to pass any judgement.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@HTBjarnason Yes he without a doubt is pretty stupid and naive, for a man of his years. I am happy he is safe, but i call it like it is, he is a dumb ass. Would you pass up a free ride on Air force 2 and a conversation with the vice president, even if he is a moron too. Or would you be a dumb ass too, and pay for a commercial flight home? This is not a real bright guy and he needs to stay closer to home.