UNITED NATIONS, November 9 (RIA Novosti) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed North Korea’s release of two US nationals Saturday.
On Saturday North Korea released two American citizens — Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller — held by Pyongyang on espionage and rebellion charges.
Ban said in a statement published on the UN website he is "relieved that they are safely returning home and commends the work of international partners in helping to secure their release."
Ban concluded that he "hopes that this positive momentum for improving relations among the concerned parties for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond will be built on".
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.