DPRK confirms arrest of US veteran

Updated: 2013-11-30 17:26


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PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Saturday that it had arrested a U.S. Korean War veteran for committing hostile acts against the country under the guise of a tourist.

Merrill Edward Newman, 85, had apologized for alleged crimes during the 1950-53 Korean War and "hostile acts" against the DPRK during a recent trip, according to the official KCNA news agency.

"He masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People's Army and innocent civilians," said the KCNA.

After entering the DPRK as a member of a tourist group on October 17, he "perpetrated acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system, quite contrary to the purpose of tour," it said.

Newman has been held in Pyongyang since officials took him off a plane that was scheduled to leave the country on October 26, said the news agency.

In a separate dispatch, the KCNA released a statement of apology allegedly made by Newman after being detained, in which the war veteran admitted killing civilians and Korean soldiers during the Korean War.

"I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people," the statement read.

Newman attempted to meet with any surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War to fight the DPRK, and brought an e-book criticizing the DPRK during his recent trip to the country, according to the statement.

Newman apologized sincerely for his acts and begged the DPRK government not to punish him, according to the statement.

"I will never commit the offensive act against the DPRK government and the Korean people again," read the statement carried by the KCNA.

The news agency also released photos and a video footage showing Newman, from Palo Alto, northern California, reading his alleged apology.