North Korea arrested and detained an elderly U.S. citizen last month, who they now say is a “criminal” due to his military
service during the Korean War in the ’50s, according to Reuters.
Merrill Newman, 85, who was visiting the country as a tourist, was pulled off a plane right as he was about to leave the country on Oct. 26. Now, he’s one of two American citizens currently being held inside the country.
Korea Central News Agency released Newman’s “apology.” It’s unknown whether he wrote this willingly or he was coerced, although the Hermit Kingdom has been known to demand apology letters in the past.
For example, in 1968 to secure the release of 82 hostages, Maj. Gen. Gilbert H. Woodward signed a statement acknowledging that the USS Pueblo had “illegally intruded into the territorial waters of North Korea” and apologized for “the grave acts committed by the U.S. ship against” North Korea.
KCNA has also released video of Newman reading the statement.
Here’s Newman’s letter:
I am Merrill Newman living in California, USA.
During the Korean War, I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people as advisor of the Kuwol Unit of the UN Korea 6th Partisan Regiment part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Far East Command.
As I gave 300 people with barbarity gone to the South who had ill feelings toward the DPRK from Chodo military education and guerilla training they later did attack against the DPRK although the armistice was signed.
I also gave 200 soldiers under my command in Mt. Kuwol the task to harass the rear base such as collecting information on the movement and the arm equipment in KPA, attacking and destruction on the communication system, the rice storage, railroad and munitions train by dispatching the several elements to Hwanghae Province Area.
According to my order they collected information of the KPA and attacked the communication system and killed 3 innocent operators, delayed the munitions supply using explosives obtained from attacking the mine and they attacked the KPA and harassing operations of the rear base 10 times in the Hwanghae Province Area.
They killed about 50 soldiers in the process of the operation. In the process of following tasks given by me I believe they would kill more innocent people.
As I killed so many civilians and KPA soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people.
Although 60 years have gone by, I came to DPRK on the excuse of the tour as a member of 33 Tour Group from U.S. on October 17, 2013.
Shamelessly I had a plan to meet any surviving soldiers and pray for the souls of the dead soldiers in Kuwol Mt. during the Korean war. Following the itinerary I asked my guide to help me look for the surviving soldiers and their families and descendents because it was too hard for me to do myself.
If I had the opportunity to visit Kuwol Mt. I was going to pray for the souls of dead soldiers. If I saw surviving soldiers in Mt. Kuwol, I was going to connect them with the members of the Kuwol Partisan Comrades-in-Arms Association which I had already connected with, anti-Communist strategic plot organisation.
All the members of the Kuwol Partisan Comrades-in-Arms Association escaped from the DPRK to South Korea. So I asked the guide to help me to look for their families and relatives living in DPRK and I gave the document written with their address and e-mail address to the guide in the Yanggakdo Hotel.
I also brought the e-book criticising the Socialist DPRK on this trip and criticising DPRK.
Although I committed the indelible offensive acts against the Korean people in the period of the Korean War, I have been guilty of big crimes against the DPRK government and Korean People again.
I realise that I cannot be forgiven for my offensives but I beg for pardon on my knees by apologizing for my offensives sincerely toward the DPRK government and the Korean people and I want not punish me.
Please forgive me.
I will never commit the offensive act against the DPRK Government and the Korean People again.
On this trip I can understand that in US and western countries there is misleading information and propaganda about DPRK.
If I go back to USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading.
Nov 9, 2013
via KCNA (h/t BuzzFeed)
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.