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Sun Dec 1, 2013 4:22AM
Merrill Newman, US war veteran

Merrill Newman, US war veteran

An octogenarian American detained in North Korea on charge of spying has apologized for committing "hostile acts" against the republic during his recent trip to the Far East country. "I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people," 85-year-old Merrill Newman wrote in a four-page statement reported by North Korea's official news agency (KCNA) on Saturday. According to the statement, the war veteran tried to meet with surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War (1950-1953) to fight North Korea and confessed to killing civilians. "As I killed so many civilians and KPA (Korean People's Army) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people," he said. "The investigation clearly proved Newman's hostile acts against the DPRK, and they were backed by evidence," KCNA added. "He admitted all his crimes and made an apology for them." "If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading," the statement concluded. Newman was arrested by North Korean officials on board a plane on October 26 when he was going to return to the United States after a 10-day tour. Bob Hamrdla, his friend traveling with him, was permitted to leave the country. Washington officials have urged the North Korean government to release Newman. "Given Mr. Newman's advanced age and health conditions, we urge the DPRK to release Mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family," said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the US National Security Council. MSM/GJH/HMV