NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

North Korea releases imprisoned Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller

Final­ly, some good news for a change!

The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion announced today that it has secured the release of Ken­neth Bae and Matthew Miller, two Amer­i­cans who were being held by North Korea. Both are on their way home to the Unit­ed States on a U.S. air­craft with Nation­al Intel­li­gence Direc­tor James Clap­per, who secret­ly flew to North Korea to res­cue them from the clutch­es of the regime.

Asked to com­ment on the release of Bae and Miller fol­low­ing an event intro­duc­ing his nom­i­nee for Attor­ney Gen­er­al, Loret­ta Lynch, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said, “Well, I think it’s a won­der­ful day for them and their fam­i­lies.  And obvi­ous­ly, we’re very grate­ful for their safe return. And I appre­ci­ate Direc­tor Clap­per doing a great job on what was obvi­ous­ly a chal­leng­ing mis­sion.”

Of the two men, Bae had been held the longest, hav­ing been impris­oned just over two years ago, in Novem­ber of 2012. He was arrest­ed while lead­ing a tour group in North Korea, and lat­er “con­vict­ed” of attempt­ing to over­throw the regime.

Bae’s sis­ter, who has plead­ed with both North Korea and the U.S. gov­ern­ment to help her broth­er, released a state­ment express­ing her great relief.

The day we’ve been pray­ing for has final­ly arrived! Ear­ly this morn­ing, my fam­i­ly heard news from the US State Depart­ment that my broth­er was on a plane from DPRK (North Korea) with fel­low detainee Matthew Todd Miller. They had left North Kore­an air­space, bound for Amer­i­ca.

Words can­not ade­quate­ly express our relief and grat­i­tude that Ken­neth is final­ly com­ing home! We have been wait­ing for and pray­ing for this day for two years. This ordeal has been excru­ci­at­ing for the fam­i­ly, but we are filled with joy right now.

I am thrilled to imag­ine hug­ging my broth­er soon. He will not have to spend anoth­er day at a labor camp. He can now recov­er from this impris­on­ment and look for­ward to his wife, kids and rest of his life. Our Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tion this year will be one we will nev­er for­get.

We sin­cere­ly thank the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment for all the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to secur­ing my broth­er’s release, as well as the release of Matthew Todd Miller. We are also grate­ful to the DPRK gov­ern­ment for allow­ing them to come home. We must also thank the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang for their tire­less efforts to advo­cate for Ken­neth dur­ing his pro­longed impris­on­ment.

We are grate­ful to every­one who has sup­port­ed my broth­er’s cause, includ­ing reporters and edi­tors who cared enough to see this through. We are thank­ful for peo­ple here in Seat­tle and across the world who have con­tin­ued to advo­cate and pray for Ken­neth.

We believe that God is with peo­ple who endure hard­ship, and that He nev­er leaves them. It is with great joy and with thank­ful­ness to God to see Ken­neth released. Our fam­i­ly could not have been sus­tained with­out the knowl­edge that Ken­neth was in God’s care, when it seemed we were help­less to do any­thing.

U.S. Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell hailed Bae’s release.

“It is over­due but much appre­ci­at­ed good news to hear of North Kore­a’s release of Wash­ing­ton res­i­dent Ken­neth Bae. Puget Sound and Lyn­nwood, Wash­ing­ton, can­not wait to wel­come him home,” she said in a press release.

“I want to thank the State Depart­ment, Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence James Clap­per and the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion for secur­ing the release of Mr. Bae.

“Ken­neth Bae’s fam­i­ly remained resolved and focused for the last two years, con­stant­ly advo­cat­ing for his release. His sis­ter, Ter­ri, and son, Jonathan, made numer­ous trips to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and oth­er loca­tions advo­cat­ing for Ken­neth.  They were stead­fast. For all those involved, we give our heart­felt thanks for end­ing what could have been more than a decade of fur­ther detain­ment of Ken­neth Bae. It will be good to have Ken­neth on Amer­i­can soil.”

U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray agreed.

“I am so thrilled that Ken­neth Bae has final­ly been released from North Korea along with Matthew Todd Miller. It has been a long two years for Kenneth’s fam­i­ly, but they nev­er stopped fight­ing for him, and they nev­er lost faith that this day would come. Kenneth’s fam­i­ly has spent the last two years doing every­thing they could to has­ten this moment and see their broth­er, son, father, and hus­band once again.”

“Kenneth’s sis­ter Ter­ri, in par­tic­u­lar, has made it her per­son­al mis­sion to bring her broth­er back and her pow­er­ful voice and hard work tru­ly helped make this day pos­si­ble. This is a great day for Kenneth’s fam­i­ly, friends, and all of us in Wash­ing­ton who have worked, hoped, and prayed for Kenneth’s return over the last two years.”

This region has been in need of some­thing to cel­e­brate, and the release of Ken­neth Bae and Matthew Miller is unques­tion­ably a joy­ous occa­sion. Thanks­giv­ing will indeed be all the more won­der­ful this year because these Amer­i­cans will be back home in the Unit­ed States with their fam­i­lies.

Wel­come home, Ken­neth and Matthew!

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