robert park released from north korea

Robert Park, the Korean American missionary who crossed over into North Korea to make a statement against the nation's oppressive communist regime, has returned the United States and reunited with his family after 43 days in custody: Missionary who was held in N. Korea arrives in US.

Park, 28, crossed the frozen Tumen River from China into North Korea on December 25, carrying letters calling on leader Kim Jong Il to close the country's notoriously brutal prison camps and step down from power.

After North Korea announced that he would be released on Friday, Park flew from Pyongyang to Beijing, then returned home to the United States, where he was reunited with his family.

Here's the weird part about his release. Last week, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency released a statement quoting Park saying some very nice things about the country he crossed into to protest:
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency quoted Park as saying he was ashamed of the "biased" view he once held of the country.

Robert Park said he was now convinced "there's complete religious freedom for all people everywhere" in North Korea, citing the return of the Bible he carried as he entered the country and a service he attended at Pongsu Church in Pyongyang, KCNA said.

"I would not have committed such crime if I had known that the (North) respects the rights of all the people and guarantees their freedom and they enjoy a happy and stable life," it quoted him as saying.
Park didn't respond to questions from reporters when he arrived in Beijing about whether he had been speaking freely or under duress, though I think it's pretty clear this statement sounds far from genuine. By the way, no former U.S. presidents were involved with his release. More here: Family relieved missionary home from N. Korea.

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