North Korea Has Canceled Talks Over the Fate of an Imprisoned American

U.S. is disappointed but says it will continue to work through diplomatic channels

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KCNA / Reuters

Kenneth Bae appears before a limited number of media outlets in Pyongyang in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 20, 2014

North Korean officials have abruptly canceled a meeting with U.S. envoy Robert King to negotiate the fate of American citizen Kenneth Bae, who is being held in custody by Pyongyang.

The U.S. State Department announced the cancellation of the talks on Sunday and said it was “deeply disappointed” by North Korea’s decision, but insisted that American diplomats would continue to work to negotiate Bae’s release.

“We again call on the DPRK to grant Bae special amnesty and immediate release as a humanitarian gesture so he may reunite with his family and seek medical care,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Bae was arrested in late 2012 in North Korea and was accused of using religious activities to undermine the state. His family contends that he was simply managing a tourism operation in the country.