WASHINGTON, November 8 (RIA Novosti) — North Korea has released two US nationals held by Pyongyang on espionage and rebellion charges, the US Department of State said Saturday in a press release that circulated the statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
"We can confirm that US citizens Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller have been allowed to depart the DPRK and are on their way home, accompanied by DNI [James] Clapper, to re-join their families," the statement confirmed.
It went on to say that the US government "is facilitating their return to the United States."
"We welcome the DPRK's decision to release both Mr. Bae and Mr. Miller. We want to thank our international partners, especially our Protecting Power, the Government of Sweden, for their tireless efforts to help secure their release," the announcement said further.
Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary of Korean origin, was detained in 2012 and received a 15-year sentence the following year for allegedly plotting a religious insurrection in North Korea.
The second US captive, Matthew Miller, was arrested in April after he tore up his North Korean visa, expressing a wish to experience prison life to investigate the human rights situation in the country. Accused of espionage, he was sentenced to six years in a labor camp.
This followed the release of another US national, Jeffrey Fowle, who was freed and handed over to US officials on October 21 after spending more than five months in North Korean captivity. He was arrested in May after leaving a Bible in a sailor's club in the North Korean city of Chongjin.
Following the handover, Korean state media claimed the release was facilitated by President Barack Obama who personally asked North Korea to release the prisoners. The Department of State later denied the allegation.