Kerry: No Deal in North Korea Prisoner Release
North Korea says a detained American was freed this week following “repeated requests” from U.S. President Barack Obama.
The brief note by Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency said “criminal” Jeffrey Fowle was released on orders of leader Kim Jong-Un.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said no deal – no “quid pro quo” – had been struck with North Korea in Fowle’s case.
The 56-year-old from Ohio landed in the United States early Wednesday.
Fowle, who arrived in North Korea on a tourist visa, was arrested six months ago after leaving a Bible in a North Korean restaurant and bar. His family denied that he traveled to the country on a church-related mission.
2 Americans remain
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said there is continued concern about two Americans who remain in custody.
“We remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller, and again call on the DPRK to immediately release them,” Harf said.
She said Fowle has been evaluated by a doctor and appears to be in good health.
Miller was sentenced to six years of hard labor after being convicted of “hostile” acts against North Korea. Bae received a 15-year prison sentence, also for “hostile” acts.
Speaking Wednesday in Berlin, Kerry expressed hope denuclearization talks with Pyongyang could start again soon.