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Friday
May272011

State Department Confirms: North Korea to Free Detained US Citizen

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department confirmed Friday afternoon that American Eddie Jun will soon be released from detention in North Korea and allowed to leave.
 
“We welcome North Korea's decision to release U.S. citizen Eddie Jun,” deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. Toner said that the Swedish embassy, which represents the U.S. in Pyongyang, confirmed that Jun will be released shortly.
 
His release comes as a senior U.S. official, human rights envoy Ambassador Robert King, is visiting Pyongyang this week as part of a separate mission to assess whether North Korea is prepared to accept food assistance.
 
King was able to visit Jun on Thursday. Toner wouldn’t say much about his condition but said that he appeared to be in “decent health.”
 
Toner had no confirmation of reports that Ambassador King had expressed his regret for the incident since there is no readout yet from the U.S. delegation which remains in North Korea.
 
The State Department made clear that Jun’s release will not pave the way for progress on food aid or other issues like nuclear talks.
 
“It's important to note and to clearly state that our food aid -- any decisions about food aid are not related in any way to any -- I don't know -- policy-related decisions, if you will,” Toner said.

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