An unnamed Obama administration official said Monday "We hope this decision by DPRK authorities to allow Kenneth Bae to meet with reporters signals their willingness to release him... We have offered to send Ambassador King to Pyongyang to secure Mr. Bae's release. We have asked the North Koreans this, and await their early response."
U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki released an email statement to Yonhap News that expressed continued concern over Bae's captivity, writing "As we have said before, we remain very concerned about Kenneth Bae's health. We continue to urge the DPRK (North Korea) authorities to grant Bae amnesty and immediate release."
Ambassador Robert King was initially invited by North Korea to travel to Pyongyang in August 2013 "on a humanitarian mission focused on securing the release of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae" although North Korean officials canceled the visit at the last minute. The State Department responded to the rescinded invitation by pledging "to continue to urge the DPRK authorities to grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds."
U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have previously traveled to North Korea to secure the release of detained American citizens. According to a Yonhap News, North Korea may seek a higher-profile figure than Ambassador King to travel to Pyongyang to negotiate Bae's release.
[Wall Street Journal]
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