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US veteran of Korean War arrested in DPRK in October, says newspaper

November 21, 2013, 2:26 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, November 20, 23:48 /ITAR-TASS/. North Korean authorities arrested an 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War last month when the man, who had come to the country as a tourist, was about to leave it, The New York Times said Wednesday quoting a senior U.S. official and a report posted Wednesday on the website of The San Jose Mercury News.

According to the report, the veteran, a certain Merrill Newman from Palo Alto in California, was taken off the jet by which he was supposed to leave North Korea.

“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea, but we have no additional information to share at this time,” Nolan Barkhouse, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Beijing told reporters.

The New York Times said the North Korean mass media had not reported Merrill Newman’s detention.

The U.S. Department of State reacted to the incident by further tightening the warnings to the Americans against visiting North Korea.

“The Department of State recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea,” said a note issued Tuesday. “U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.”

The New York Times says American began to make group tours to Pyongyang and several more tourist sites in North Korea more frequently in recent years.

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