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North Korea Releases American Detainee; US Says No Deal Was Made

Robert Park, the American missionary detained in North Korea, was released Saturday after 43 days in custody. While Park went to North Korea to protest the country’s prison camps, he left state that he had been “taken in by false rumors spread by the West”, and the “[North Korea] offered religious freedom and human rights to all its citizens.” According to the official Korean Central News Agency, “the North Korean government decided ‘to leniently forgive and release [Park], taking his admission and sincere repentance of his wrongdoings into consideration.’” When asked by reporters if he had been forced to make such statements, Park declined to answer.

Reportedly, Park asked that the specifics of his release be withheld from the public, but the State Department maintains that no deal was made with the Communist country. P.J. Crowley, spokesman for the State Department, said that North Korea decided to release Park on its own, but it “welcomed the decision to release him and look[s] forward to [Park’s] safe return.”

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