Americans freed from North Korea

By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~

Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller were released by the North Korean government and were welcomed home on Nov. 8. They arrived at Joint Base Lewis- McChord near Tacoma, Wash.

Their release came after a letter was delivered to officials in Pyongyang by U.S. Director
of National Intelligence James Clapper. Clapper went to the country as an envoy of President Obama to negotiate the release and spent about a day in North Korea deliberating with security officials. The U.S. government stated that there was no trade in exchange for the prisoners.

Bae is 46 years old and originally from Lynnwood, Wash. He spent two years imprisoned by the North Korean government after being charged with using Christian evangelization to preach against the North Korean government. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. “I just want to say thank you all for supporting me and standing by me during this time,” Bae said. He also thanked the North Koreans for giving him back his freedom.

“I’d like to thank the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) North Korean government, as well — allowing me to come home and be united with our family,” he said. The other man, Matthew Todd Miller, is 25 years old and from Bakersfield, Calif. He was detained earlier in 2014 for allegedly acting hostile toward the North Korean government. Miller was sentenced to six years of hard labor.

North Korean officials claimed that he was a spy sent by the U.S. government to infiltrate a prison. Miller and his family did not speak to the press.

“I hope their release is a signal of a potential opening between our two countries and that despite our stark differences we may find a common humanity,” Laura Ling, U.S. journalist and former captive of North Korea, said.