North Korea to Release American
News of Eddie Jun comes as Pyongyang seeks new food aid
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2011 6:41 AM CDT
A North Korean soldier looks at the South side at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas on May 24, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – North Korea is set to release an American held since last November, state media reported after a US diplomat visited Pyongyang. The American envoy for human rights in North Korea, Robert King, headed to the country to examine its request that the US resume food aid, which Pyongyang halted in 2008. According to state media, King “expressed regret at the incident”—still unnamed—that resulted in the arrest of Eddie Jun of Los Angeles.

King said he'd work to "prevent the recurrence" of such an incident, the report said. But it would have been tough for the North to secure US aid when the country was holding an American citizen without giving a reason, reports the Wall Street Journal. (The AP notes that South Korean media reported that Jun was accused of spreading Christianity.) It’s not yet known when Jun will be released. Last week, a bipartisan team of senators wrote to Hillary Clinton to voice “concern” over the food aid request. The US can’t let Pyongyang “manipulate the issue of food aid, as it has done in the past, as a political weapon.”