- Associated Press - Saturday, November 30, 2013

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is urging North Korea to release an 85-year-old American who’s been detained for more than a month.

Retired finance executive Merrill Newman, who fought in the Korean War, was taken off a plane Oct. 26 by North Korean authorities while preparing to leave after a 10-day visit.

Newman’s son has said his father wanted to return to the country where he spent three years during the war.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says that given Newman’s age and health — he’s on heart medication — North Korea should release him so he can be reunited with his family.

North Korea state media claims Newman apologized for alleged crimes during the war and for “hostile acts” against the North during his trip.

That claim couldn’t be independently confirmed.

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