One of the Americans recently freed after being detained in North Korea said he visited the communist country with the intention of being arrested and seeing life beyond the tourist trail.
Speaking with NK News, Matthew Miller, 25, revealed that he actually sabotaged his own tourist visa on the flight to Pyongyang.
“My main fear was that they would not arrest me when I arrived," he said, adding that he went "to be detained."
In this image taken from video, U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The US announced Saturday the release of Americans Miller and Kenneth Bae who were detained in North Korea, saying they're on way home. (AP Photo/APTN)
The 25-year-old from California, who was held prisoner for 210 days, explained that he wanted to talk to the country's citizens.
“I achieved my personal goal of seeing more of North Korea. I wanted to connect with the people – not question the government or the politics. I have no personal politics. This was not a political trip," he told NK News. "I just wanted to speak to an ordinary North Korean person about normal things."
“I wanted to just every day sit down with them and have conversations about everything. I would ask them one question about their country and they would have a question about mine,” Miller added.
The North Korean government didn't want to detain the 25-year-old Californian and even tried sending him back to the U.S. on the next available flight, the 25-year-old told NK News.
“I was trying to stay in the country,” Miller said. “They wanted me to leave. The very first night they said, ‘We want you to leave on the next flight.’ But I refused. I just did not leave.”
However, after some time and being sentenced to six years of hard labor, Miller eventually sought help from the U.S. government to leave.
“I suppose the main question is, ‘Then why did you request help from the U.S. government?’” he told NK News. “I am still thinking how to answer that.”
Last Saturday, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper visited the communist country and secured the release of Miller and another American being held captive. Clapper told the Wall Street Journal that he did not talk with the released individuals on the way back to the U.S.
“I chose not to,” he said.
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