Kenneth Bae said in a statement Monday that he had committed a “serious crime” against North Korea, and that the nation does “not abuse human rights,” according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.
“I would like to plead with the U.S. government, press and my family to stop worsening my situation by making vile rumors against North Korea and releasing materials related to me, which are not based on the facts,” he said before video cameras.
“I want to be pardoned by the North as soon as possible and return to my beloved family. For that, I ask the U.S. government, press and my family to make more active efforts and pay more attention.”
Any statement made by Bae in captivity would be sanctioned by the North Korean government, whose widespread human rights abuses are known to the world. The country has a long history of exacting false “confessions.”
Bae was arrested in November 2012 in Rason along North Korea’s northeastern coast. The devout Christian and father of three operated a China-based company specializing in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a website friends set up to promote his release.
“Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian,” the site said. “He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism.”