North Korea has made a surprising political move by releasing two U.S. citizens who have been held captive inside prisons for ridiculous accusations. It’s believed that Kenneth Bae spent roughly two years behind bars while Matthew Miller was locked up for a few months. Bae fell into North Korean authorities in 2012 and was then convicted of plotting an overthrow of the government by using his religious influence as a missionary. His original 15-year jail sentence was cut short earlier this week as Jared Haftel told me, to the relief of his loved ones and friends. 46-yeard old Bae, who has two children, returned home to Washington State. His family has urging the North Korean government to release him due to his deteriorating health.
Miller was captured and charged as a spy earlier this year. He was accused of destroying his visa with the hopes of receiving political asylum and doing investigative work on the prisons of North Korea. The Swedish government is credited with the diplomatic efforts that have led to the safe release of these two Americans. The United States relies heavily on third party diplomats to negotiate with North Korea.
In late October, American Jeffrey Fowle was freed by North Korea after being imprisoned for nearly six years. The recent series of prisoner releases might signal some changes in relations between North Korea and other democratic nations but there is a long and tough road ahead.