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Indelible Offensive Acts': Is This a Legitimate Apology to North Korea from 85-Year-Old Tourist Reportedly Detained There?

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"...I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War..."

This 2005 photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, in Palo Alto, Calif. (Image source: AP/Palo Alto Weekly, Nicholas Wright)

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea state media say an elderly U.S. tourist detained for more than a month has apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for "hostile acts" against the state during a recent trip.

KCNA released an "apology" statement Saturday it claimed was from 85-year old Merrill Newman: "After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people," Newman allegedly said, CNN noted.

This 2005 photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, in Palo Alto, Calif. (Image source: AP/Palo Alto Weekly, Nicholas Wright)

His statement ends: "If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading."

There was no direct word from Newman and his alleged apology released Saturday couldn't be independently confirmed.Pyongyang has been accused of previously coercing statements from detainees.

Pyongyang says the war veteran allegedly attempted to meet with surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War and that he admitted killing civilians; it wasn't clear what would happen to Newman now.

Newman, an inveterate traveler and long-retired finance executive from California, spent three years as an infantryman during the Korean War six decades ago, according to his son. North Korean officials detained him at the end of a nine-day trip last month as he sat in an airplane set to leave the country, the son said.--

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