Saturday, May 28, 2011

American freed by North Korea without aid promise, US says

North Korea freed an American it held for a half year for reportedly proselytizing. US envoy, Robert King, accompanied Eddie Jun on a flight from the North Korean capital. After Beijing, Jun flew to Seoul where he told reporters he would have a medical checkup.
Jun, a Korean-American from California who traveled to North Korea several times and had business interests there, was arrested in November, with the North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, saying he was accused of committing a serious crime. Pyongyang didn't provide details, but South Korean press reports say Jun was accused of spreading Christianity. 

North Korea officially guarantees freedom of religion but often cracks down on Christians, who are seen as a Western-influenced threat. The distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services can mean banishment to a labor camp or execution, defectors have said.

King, the U.S. envoy for North Korean human rights, traveled to Pyongyang this week with specialists to assess the severity of the latest of North Korea's chronic food shortages, tried to quash any speculation that the U.S. had offered aid to obtain his freedom.

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