North Korea frees US citizen after six months

AN AMERICAN citizen released after six months’ detention in North Korea has arrived in Seoul after he left the communist state with a US delegation, South Korean news media said.

Eddie Jun Yong-Su, a US citizen of Korean ancestry, came to Seoul via Beijing after he flew out of Pyongyang with the group led by Robert King, US special envoy for human rights and humanitarian issues.

“I have to go to hospital now. I’ll have a chance to talk to you later,” Jun told journalists at Seoul’s Incheon airport.

He was then whisked away in a mini bus, Yonhap news agency said.

Wearing a black zip-up jacket and black trousers, he looked in relatively good health and walked without help despite his detention in the North since November on unspecified charges.

King and Jun arrived at Beijing aboard a flight of Air Koryo, the North’s state airline.

“We are very happy to report that Mr Jun, the American citizen who’s being held in Pyongyang, has been released,” King told reporters. “We are also delighted that within a day or two he’ll be able to be back with his wife and family.”

King said Washington had not offered food aid in exchange for his freedom.

“We did not negotiate or agree to any provision of food assistance. That’s an issue that will have to be made in Washington.”

Jun, a California-based businessman, had been detained for apparent missionary activities in the hardline communist state.

King’s departure came a day after North Korea said it had decided to free and return Jun “on humanitarian grounds in consideration of repeated requests” by recent US visitors.

King was at the head of a team to assess whether to resume US food aid to the hungry state.

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