SEOUL, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- North Korea aired a statement from the South Korean New York University student detained in April.
Joo Won-moon, 21, said he was not sure about his future but that he is willing to "accept any judgment as given," since he broke the law by illegally entering North Korea.
"But as a young college student who wanted to satisfy his curiosity I hoped to be treated generously," Joo said Friday.
Joo appeared relaxed in a white checked shirt as he sat before foreign and local North Korean reporters in a Pyongyang conference room. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Joo told the gathering that he could not find any signs of human rights issues or political oppression during his five-month stay in North Korea.
According to North Korea's state media outlet KCNA, Joo said that as a U.S. resident he saw many negative images of North Korea, and out of curiosity he decided to see what life was like firsthand, in the reclusive country.
KCNA said Joo organized a club called "Liberate North Korea" in high school, but after touring North Korea's Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities, the college student could "understand how U.S. war crimes have created feelings of hostility among the [North] Korean people."
North Korea said Joo was critical of U.S. foreign policy and that U.S. refusal to recognize its crimes against humanity was an "obstacle to peace."
Joo said during his time in North Korea he was able to visit with students at Kim Il Sung University and the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, where students who displayed "no coldness or aversion" met him in a "welcoming atmosphere"
"A person with a peaceful purpose is no enemy" in North Korea, Joo said.