Kenneth Bae: American jailed in North Korea asks US Government to help release him

Kenneth Bae addressed journalists at a press conference in North Korea

An American who has been in a North Korean jail for more than a year has appeared before reporters and appealed to the US Government to work to secure his release.

Kenneth Bae made the comments to reporters on Monday at what he said was a press conference held at his own request, in the capital Pynogyang.

"I believe that my problem can be solved by close cooperation and agreement between the American government and the government of this country," he said.

"The vice president of United States said that I was detained here without any reason," Bae said. "And even my younger sister recently told the press that I had not committed any crime and I know that the media reported it.

He said Mr Biden's comments "infuriated the people here enormously. And for this reason, I am in a difficult situation now" and that he will "return to prison".

Mr Bae also apologised and said he committed anti-government acts.

However, he was under guard during the appearance and it is allegedly not unusual for prisoners in North Korea to say after their release that they spoke in similar situations under duress.

He was arrested for the alleged crimes against the state in November 2012 while leading a tour group in the country. North Korea's Supreme Court said he used his tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the government.

Mr Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour and is the longest-serving American detainee in North Korea in recent years.

The 45-year-old’s family members have speculated that he is being held because he is a Christian.

Mr Bae was moved from a labour camp to a hospital last summer due to his poor health. His family say he has diabetes, an enlarged heart, and a back injury that prevents him for standing for more than 30 minutes at a time.

In the press conference Mr Bae expressed hope that the US government will do its best to secure his release.

His plea comes after his sister, Terri Cheung, accused former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman in early January of jeopardising her brother's release.

During an interview in America, Mr Rodman said he would not discuss Mr Bae’s release with the leaders of North Korea when he staged an exhibition basketball game for leader Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

He also implied that Mr Bae may be responsible for his incarceration.

Mr Rodman later apologised and said he had been drinking before the interview.

Read more: Dennis Rodman admitted to alcohol rehab centre after visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman apologises over comments about imprisoned US man Kenneth Bae, saying he had been drinking  

Best buds Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un: He isn't the first to cuddle up to a dictator

Bae was born in South Korea and moved to the US in 1985 with his parents and sister.

Before his arrest, Mr Bae lived in China for seven years with his wife and stepdaughter where he ran a tour business and led 18 legal trips to North Korea, his sister said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all