U.S. Envoy Headed to North Korea to Secure Release of Christian Missionary [UPDATED]
Today, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues Robert King and a group of U.S. diplomats will leave for Pyongyang in an effort to secure the release of an imprisoned American missionary. Last year, Christian missionary Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after the regime of dictator Kim Jong Un accused him of attempting to plan and carry out unspecified “serious crimes” against the government. It is widely believed that Bae angered government officials by taking photos of severely malnourished children and orphans in North Korea, in an effort to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis. According to Bae’s family, the missionary has become seriously ill while in North Korean captivity. Though the regime has made no guarantees in terms of Bae’s release, the one-day diplomatic trip is at the invitation of the North Korean government …
Update: North Korea has rescinded their invitation, for reasons unclear. “We are surprised and disappointed by North Korea’s decision” a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said. “We have sought clarification from the D.P.R.K. about its decision and have made every effort so that Ambassador King’s trip could continue as planned or take place at a later date.”
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