DON’T forget about Kenneth Bae. North Korean officials arrested the Lynnwood man last November, reportedly after he led tourists into the reclusive country.
Four months later, he remains in custody.
The U.S. State Department, which does not have an official presence in Pyongyang, is mum on the topic of Bae’s status and health. Members of Washington state’s congressional delegation also are hesitant to speak.
In a bizarre turn, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman just returned from a visit to North Korea and calls leader Kim Jong Un a “friend for life.”
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Photos of the smiling pair sparked heavy condemnation because they conceal the regime’s poor human-rights record, as well as its recent efforts to test nuclear weapons.
Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson traveled with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to North Korea in January to discuss Internet-related matters.
Richardson’s efforts to see Bae in prison failed, but he asked officials there to deliver a letter from the Washington resident’s son.
According to previous news reports, North Korean officials have charged Bae with committing “hostile acts against the republic.” Political experts remain skeptical of the totalitarian state’s true motives.
U.S. officials must exhaust diplomatic channels to get to the bottom of this.