UN chief hails DPRK's release of two US citizens

Updated: 2014-11-09 14:42


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UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday welcomed the release of two US nationals by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), voicing his hope that "the positive momentum for improving relations among the concerned parties" will be built on.

UN chief hails DPRK's release of two US citizens

Matthew Todd Miller (C, facing camera) reunites with his family members after he and Kenneth Bae (not pictured) landed aboard a US Air Force jet at McChord Field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington November 8, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Ban "appreciates the decision of the DPRK to release them" following the release last month of another American detainee Jeffrey Fowle, said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.

"The secretary-general is relieved that they are safely returning home and commends the work of international partners in helping to secure their release," the statement said.

"The secretary-general hopes that this positive momentum for improving relations among the concerned parties for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond will be built on," the statement added.

Earlier Saturday, the United States confirmed and welcomed the release of the last two American detainees held by the DPRK.

"We can confirm that US citizens Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller have been allowed to depart the DPRK and are on their way home," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.

It said James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence who engaged in discussions with Pyongyang about the release of the two detainees, was accompanying them on their way home.

Bae, 42, and Miller, 24, have been held by the DPRK for two years and seven months respectively. They were sentenced to separate hard labor of 15 years and six years by Pyongyang.