North Korea withdraws invite for US envoy

MyNNNNorth Korea has rescinded its invitation for a senior U.S. envoy to travel to Pyongyang to seek the release of a detained American, the State Department said Friday, abruptly dimming hopes for improved relations already strained by the North’s nuclear program.

Our news partner, the Seattle Times, notes that Bob King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights, was due to travel Friday from Tokyo to Pyongyang to request a pardon and amnesty for Kenneth Bae, and return the next day.

Bae, a 45-year-old tour operator and Christian missionary, was sentenced in April to 15 years of hard labor by the authoritarian state, which accused him of subversion. He was recently hospitalized.

Read the story here.

Rep. Rick Larsen issued the following statement following the State Department’s announcement: “I am disappointed by North Korea’s decision to reverse course and not allow Ambassador King to enter the country. I know this setback will be difficult for the Bae family who had hoped for good news today. I commend the State Department for their efforts and know that Ambassador King and his staff will persist in their efforts to secure Kenneth’s release. The North Koreans gain nothing from this course reversal. It is time to let Kenneth come home to his family and get the medical attention he needs.”



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