North Korea releases final two US captives

The last two Americans being held captive by North Korea have returned home.

North Korea releases final two US captives

Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller landed on Saturday night at a Washington state military base after a top US intelligence official secured their release from the reclusive Communist country.

Bae, surrounded by family members, spoke briefly to the media after the plane carrying him and Miller landed about 9pm.

“I just want to say thank you all for supporting me and standing by me,” he said.

He thanked President Barack Obama and those who had supported his family. He then thanked the North Korean government for releasing him.

His family has said he suffers from diabetes, an enlarged heart, liver problems and back pain.

US officials said Miller of Bakersfield, California, and Bae of Lynnwood, Washington, flew back with James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. Clapper was the highest-ranking American to visit Pyongyang in more than a decade.

Their release was the latest twist in the fitful relationship between the Obama administration and the young North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, whose approach to the US has shifted back and forth from defiance to occasional conciliation.

“It’s a wonderful day for them and their families,” Obama said at the White House following his announcement of his pick for attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox