Jesse Jackson To Save The Day? Reverend May Go To N. Korea To Help Release Imprisoned American
The Rev. Jesse Jackson just might expand his fight for justice overseas — in North Korea! An American missionary, Kenneth Bae, has been imprisoned in the mysterious state for nearly a year. Donald Gregg, an American diplomat, arrived in North Korea on Monday. If he cannot secure the release of Bae, then Jackson — at the request of Bae’s family — will be next to initiate negotiations, Mediaite reports.
Bae was arrested in November 2012, according to CNN, for allegedly attempting to “topple” the North Korean regime. His family, however, says that Bae was just a Christian missionary spreading the good word. Seen as a threat, Bae has been sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment and hard labor.
“I want to be pardoned by the North as soon as possible and return to my beloved family. For that, I ask the US government, press, and my family to make more active efforts and pay more attention,” Bae said during a taped confession in Pyongyang.
The US has, in fact, been active in trying to negotiate with North Korean officials, but has been snubbed several times. Ambassador Robert King, for example, was granted permission to discuss the release of Bae last fall, but was later uninvited.
“On Sunday, it pulled the same stunt again, rescinding a second invitation to King,” New York magazine said. Now Gregg — a former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea — has arrived in Pyongyang on Monday and the State Department are crossing their fingers for Bae’s freedom.
In the event that Gregg can’t convince the North Korean government to release Bae, Jesse Jackson might be sent the isolated nation-state to cut a deal with North Korean officials.
“We support the efforts of the Bae family and Reverend Jackson to bring Bae home,” a State Dept. official said on Sunday. So far, Jackson has not responded to requests for comment. You’ll recall that there were fears for Bae’s safety after Dennis Rodman gave his drunken interview to CNN last month.
The health of the 45-year-old US detainee is failing as we speak; he suffers from diabetes, enlarged heart, and other ailments.
“This is a lesson for future missionary-type people. We’ll be thinking twice before going into [North Korea] for the same purpose,” Professor Han Park, University of Georgia, told CNN.