SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea state media claimed today that an elderly U.S. tourist detained for more than a month has apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state during a recent trip.
North Korean authorities released video showing 85-year-old Merrill Newman, wearing glasses, a blue button-down shirt and tan trousers, reading his purported apology.
Pyongyang has been accused previously of coercing statements from detainees. There was no way to reach Newman and determine the circumstances of the alleged confession.
“I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people,” Newman purportedly wrote in a four-page statement, adding: “Please forgive me.”
It wasn’t clear what would happen to Newman now. But the statement alleges that Newman says if he goes back to the U.S. he will tell the truth about the country – a possible indication that he could be released.