North Korea has rescinded its invitation for U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy to visit and try to secure the release of American citizen Kenneth Bae, who is imprisoned on charges of committing “serious crimes” against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
U.S. ambassador Robert King was scheduled to fly to North Korea on Friday on an American military jet along with a small delegation in order to try and win Bae’s release, according to a U.S. official.
King has been in the region travelling and was to come to Pyongyang at North Korea’s invitation, according to the U.S. State Department.
In 2011 King led a U.S. delegation that successful secured the release of Korean-American businessman Eddie Yong Su Jun, who had been detained in North Korea for several months.
Bae’s family claims he was a tour company owner who was in North Korea for work.
Earlier this month his sister said his health had deteriorated severely during his confinement and has been transferred to a hospital. He has been in North Korean custody longer than any other American.
The supreme court in North Korea found Bae guilty of setting up bases in China in order to topple Kim’s government, of encouraging the citizens of North Korea to overthrow the regime, and of conducting a smear campaign, according to the nation’s state media.
King had planned to request a pardon for Bae on humanitarian grounds “so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical treatment,” said the State Department.
In a separate statement, the White House had urged North Korea “to grant special clemency to Mr. Bae immediately and allow him to return home with Ambassador King.”
Chung says her brother suffers from severe back and leg pain, kidney stones, dizziness, blurred vision and loss of vision, and has lost over 50 pounds. He was already dealing with other health problems, including diabetes.
She says she received this information from the State Department, which had been informed of this after the Swedish ambassador visited Bae in the hospital. Sweden represents the U.S in North Korea because the Americans have no diplomatic presence there.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have eased considerably since last spring when Pyongyang unleashed threats when the U.S. and South Korean troops conducted large-scale military exercises following tougher U.N. sanctions on the North after it carried out a long-range rocket launch and an underground nuclear test in the preceding months. Image/Google Images