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`N. Korea rejected Carter`s call to release detained American`

`N. Korea rejected Carter`s call to release detained American`

Posted May. 06, 2011 00:39,   


North Korea rejected former U.S. President Jimmy Carter`s request for the release of the Rev. Jun Yong-su, a Korean American who has been detained in the North for six months, in Carter`s visit to Pyongyang last month.

According to a report on the visit posted on the Internet homepage of the Carter Center, North Korea flatly rejected his call for Jun’s release.

“We submitted to North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun our strong written request to the head of state for the release of Eddie Jun (Yong-su) on humanitarian grounds,” Carter wrote. The next day, Kim Yong Nam, the North’s titular head of state, informed Carter that his request would not be honored.

The former U.S. president said, “Our next meeting with head of state Kim Yong Nam was surprisingly negative and confrontational, filled with his condemnation of historical U.S. policy toward NK with my finally interrupting him and pointing out that he was concentrating exclusively on a negative and distorted picture of the past while we had come to look to the future with hopes of reconciling differences.”

Jun’s family and relatives say they are deeply disappointed and frustrated by the result of Carter’s visit.

One of Jun’s friends said, “We heard that the Rev. Jun’s health has greatly deteriorated recently due to diabetes and went through court proceedings around April 18. Assuming that he would be released, we had an ambulance ready to take him to a hospital as soon as he arrived in South Korea.”

Jun’s wife, who had been staying in Seoul awaiting his release, recently flew to Washington to ask for a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, only to be rejected. Though the U.S. government arranged a phone call with her husband, she could hear nothing but his plea for help apparently because he was under surveillance.

His friends blasted Washington for not trying hard enough to obtain his release, compared with previous cases of American citizens detained in the North.

When two American journalists were detained in the North in 2009, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and President Barack Obama publicly urged Pyongyang to release them. They were freed after 142 days of detention when former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the North.