Nightly News   |  November 30, 2013

Hostage held in North Korea appears in video

U.S. appeals for the release of a veteran who is being held hostage in North Korea. NBC's Joe Fryer reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> an elderly american being held by north korea appeared in a video released today as the united states appealed for his release. we get the story now from nbc 's joe fryer.

>> reporter: the video released by north korea state media shows 85-year-old merrill newman now detained more than a month reading an apology. he asks for forgiveness for allegedly killing north korean soldiers and civilians during the korean war . the video shows newman stamping the statement with red thumbprints, but it couldn't be confirmed if newman wrote the apology. diplomatic experts say the video could be a sign.

>> this may be a prelude to figuring out what it can extract from the united states for this release and then the release.

>> reporter: newman , a korean war veteran dreamed of visiting north korea . last month he fulfilled the dream, touring with a friend. relatives say he was on a plane getting ready to leave when a north korean military officer took him into custody. last week newman 's wife spoke with nbc news.

>> we have a lot of strong support. but when you don't know where your husband of 56 years is, you don't know his health, you don't know when he will be home with us, it's not an easy situation.

>> reporter: today, a state department official said the swedish embassy in north korea which handles issues dealing with u.s. citizens was granted access to newman . meanwhile another u.s. citizen , kenneth bay, has been detained in north korea for more than a year. today in a statement the white house said it was deep thely concerned about the welfare of both men and urged their releases. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles .