The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (United States) (AFP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday called for North Korea to release an 85-year-old pensioner and Korea War veteran who has been detained in the isolated country for more than three weeks.

Without mentioning Merrill Newman by name, Kerry told MSNBC television that his detention was one of many “disturbing choices by the North Koreans.”

Newman was on an organized tour to the North when he was detained on October 26.

“This is a misunderstanding. My father is a veteran, and wanted to see the country and culture he has been interested in for years,” his son Jeff told CNN.

Noting that Pyongyang has detained others as well, Kerry said: “This is obviously one of those moments where North Korea needs to figure out where it’s heading [and] recognize that the United States of America is not engaging in belligerent, threatening behavior.”

He added that Chinese authorities, which have close ties to Pyongyang, were being “helpful” in Newman’s case.

The elder Newman, who usually lives in a California retirement home, “arranged this with a travel agent that was recommended and said was approved by the North Korean government for travel of foreigners,” his son insisted on CNN. “He had all the proper visas.”

This week the State Department renewed its warnings to all American citizens not to travel to North Korea, saying that such trips are “not routine” and “U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.”

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, and former President Donald Trump.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

In the professional stratum of politics, few verities are treated with more reverence than the outcome of next year's midterm, when the Republican Party is deemed certain to recapture majorities in the House and Senate. With weary wisdom, any pol or pundit will cite the long string of elections that buttress this prediction.

Political history also tells us that many factors can influence an electoral result, including a national crisis or a change in economic conditions — in other words, things can change and even midterm elections are not entirely foretold. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, too.

Keep reading... Show less
x

Close