North Korea freed an American it held for a half year for reportedly proselytizing, handing him today to a US envoy who said Washington had not promised to provide aid in exchange for the man's release. The envoy, Robert King, accompanied Eddie Jun on a flight from Pyongyang, and told reporters after arriving in Beijing that Jun would be reunited with his family in the United States "within a day or two."
King traveled to Pyongyang this week with specialists to assess the severity of the latest of North Korea's chronic food shortages—but that did not factor into Jun's release. "We did not negotiate or agree to any provision of food assistance," King said. Jun did not appear with King before reporters in Beijing. Jun, dressed in a dark jacket, appeared in good spirits, smiling with King as they boarded the plane in Pyongyang. After Beijing, Jun flew to Seoul where he told reporters "I have to go to the hospital now," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. Jun is a Korean-American from California.