Published : 2013-10-15 20:44
Updated : 2013-10-15 20:45
BEIJING (Yonhap News) – The mother of an American man jailed in North Korea for nearly one year said Tuesday she is "more anxious than ever" to bring her son home after meeting him during her visit to the North.
Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American known as a Christian missionary, was arrested in North Korea last November on charges of unspecified anti-government activities. In April, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
His mother, Bae Myung-hee, 68, flew to Pyongyang on Thursday to meet her son who has been hospitalized since August. The trip was reportedly arranged in part by the U.S. government.
In the statement, she said she met with her son three times during her five-day trip to Pyongyang.
"I have wrapped up my trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to visit my son, Kenneth Bae," his mother said in the statement, referring to North Korea by its official name.
"I was happy to see him and to hold him, but it broke my heart to leave him behind," she said.
"I am more anxious than ever to bring him home. His year-long imprisonment has taken a heavy toll not only on Kenneth but on the whole family; everyday the pain and anxiety continue to carve a deep scar on all of our hearts," she added.
She then urged the U.S. government "to do everything in its power" to quickly secure her son's release.
A diplomatic source in Beijing said Bae's mother left Pyongyang on Monday and returned to the U.S.
In late August, Robert King, Washington's special envoy on North Korean human rights, planned to visit Pyongyang to negotiate Bae's release. However, North Korea abruptly canceled King's invitation.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it was aware of the mother's trip to North Korea, but it had played a limited role in helping her make the trip.