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N. Korea allows Swedish diplomat to meet detained U.S. citizen: reports

2013/12/01 16:04

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea allowed a Swedish diplomat to meet with the 85-year-old U.S. citizen who has been detained in the communist country for more than a month, media reports monitored in Seoul said Sunday.

News wire services such as AFP and CNN said a consul met Merrill Newman at a hotel in Pyongyang and delivered medication sent by his family.

The Scandinavian country's mission in Pyongyang acts as the "protecting power" for Americans in North Korea, and its diplomats provide consular services.

The media outlets said Newman was in good health and reported he was being treated well by the North Koreans.

Pyongyang reported the day before that the former veteran of the Korean War (1950-53) apologized for committing "hostile acts against the DPRK and masterminding unspecified espionage and subversive activities."

   The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

The report then said that Newman's family thanked the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang for his help.

Washington said on Saturday that the North must release Newman immediately.

He has been detained in the North since Oct. 26 after he was removed from a plane preparing to leave for Beijing. Newman had just completed a 10-day trip in the country.

In addition to the detainee, who has not been formally charged, the United States asked once again for the release of Kenneth Bae, a 40-year-old Korean-American man, who has been detained in the country for more than a year.

Bae has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for anti-North Korean activities.

yonngong@yna.co.kr

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