- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
State Dept. confirms Kerry visit with family of Kenneth Bae
Question of the Day
Secretary of State John F. Kerry met Tuesday with the family of Kenneth Bae, the latest in a series of developments related to the Obama administration’s renewed push to win freedom for the American pastor, who’s been imprisoned by North Korea since late 2012.
“We fully support the efforts of the Bae family to bring Kenneth Bae home,” said State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, who revealed Mr. Kerry’s meeting with the family in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
News of the meeting came hours after Glyn Davies, the Obama administration’s special representative for North Korea Policy, appeared in China — a close backer of the government in Pyongyang — with a public call for Mr. Bae’s release.
“We hope that they’re willing to release Kenneth Bae,” Mr. Davies told reporters following talks with Chinese officials in Beijing, according to The Associated Press. “His family is understandably very worried about his fate and would like him to be returned to them.”
Mr. Davies‘ travel to the region comes roughly a week after North Korean authorities allowed Mr. Bae to hold a news conference for foreign journalists at a hospital in Pyongyang — during which the 45-year-old Korean-American appeared exhausted as he admitted committing a “serious crime” in North Korea.
As video from the news conference swirled through the world’s media last week, speculation surged about Mr. Bae’s fate.
Joseph DeTrani, Washington’s former negotiator with North Korea, told The Washington Times on Friday that the news conference was likely a strategic ploy from Pyongyang, signaling new openness toward Mr. Bae’s eventual release.
Mr. DeTrani, who managed the North Korea mission at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from 2006 to 2010, said the State Department had most likely responded through diplomatic back-channels to Pyongyang through North Korea’s representatives at the United Nations in New York.
Mr. Bae, 45, is originally from Lynwood, Wash., and, according to the website freekennow.com, he is a devout Christian. The site maintains that he was arrested in North Korea in November 2012 while operating a China-based tourism company.
“He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism. Based out of China since 2006, he started his own tour company specializing in tours to North Korea, a remote country filled with stunning vistas and a people proud of their history and tradition,” the site states.
While North Korean authorities permitted Mr. Bae’s mother to travel from the United States to Pyongyang to visit with her imprisoned son in October, his fate has remained uncertain since.
The Obama administration had been prepared last August to send U.S. Ambassador Robert King, who serves as special envoy on North Korea human rights issues, to Pyongyang to secure Mr. Bae’s release, but a North Korean invitation to Mr. King was rescinded at the last minute.
Mr. DeTrani, who presently heads the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a non-government association in Washington, said that this time around, “the U.S. should be not only amenable, but anxious” to reschedule Mr. King’s mission.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Israel's ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- U.S. intelligence nearly certain pro-Russian separatists downed Malaysian Airlines flight
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- MH17: Fear of ground-to-air missile strike becomes nightmare reality in Ukraine
- U.S., China to participate in unprecedented joint ground force exercise
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world