US welcomes North Korea's release of American

VP says Merrill Newman now in China

WASHINGTON - The State Department says it is welcoming North Korea's decision to release an elderly American tourist.

North Korea's state news agency said 85-year-old Merrill Newman was allowed to leave the country after being held for more than month. North Korea says Newman, a Korean War veteran, apologized for alleged crimes during the war.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called it a positive decision but urged North Korea to also release another American, Kenneth Bae, who's been held there for over a year. Bae is a Korean-American missionary and tour operator. He's being held for alleged subversion.

Harf thanked the government of Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea because the U.S. does not have an embassy there.

Vice President Joe Biden praised the release of Newman, and said he is now in China.
 

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