Detained American Vet ‘Apologizes’ for ‘Offensive Acts’ Against Korean People

85-year-old Merrill Newman has been detained for more than 30 days

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An American man detained in North Korea apologized for his actions during the Korean War, according to the country’s state-run news agency.

Merrill Newman, 85, has been held in North Korea for more than 30 days after attempting to board a flight from Pyongyang to Beijing. The Palo Alto, Calif. resident allegedly released a statement Sunday, according to KCNA.

“After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people,” the Korean War veteran said.

Newman visited North Korea as a part of a tourist group in October, and then allegedly “perpetrated acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system.”

U.S. officials said they were “deeply concerned” about Newman and another detained American citizen. “Given Mr. Newman’s advanced age and health conditions, we urge (North Korea) to release Mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family,” said a National Security Council spokesperson.

This is the first time Pyongyang has addressed its reason for holding Newman.