ABC News reports on North Korea’s release Saturday of Korean War veteran Merrill Newman. “I think Mr. Newman’s old age was a key reason North Korea released him. It has likely realized that it cannot hold such an old man too long without getting international condemnation,” Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea specialist at Dongguk University, tells the New York Times.
While international condemnation hasn’t proved to be much of a deterrent to previous North Korean provocations, Kim has a point — Newman’s age was surely a factor.
Meanwhile, another American, Kenneth Bae, remains behind in the North. He’s been held now for more than a year — much longer than other Americans detained by North Korea in the recent past, including Aijalon Gomes (seven months) and journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee (five months).