BREAKING: Rescuers search for child in Cedar River

U.S. sending envoy to N. Korea to seek release of Lynnwood man

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Tuesday that, at the invitation of the North Korean government, it is sending a special envoy to North Korea to try to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, a Lynnwood man who has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged “hostile acts” against Pyongyang.

kenneth bae1U.S. Ambassador Robert King, the special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday, Aug. 30.

Bae was arrested in North Korea in November 2012 while visiting the country as a tour operator and was convicted April 30 of committing hostile against against North Korea.

“As the U.S. government has on a number of occasions since the April 30 verdict, Ambassador King will request the D.P.R.K. (North Korea) pardon Mr. Bae and grant him special amnesty on humanitarian grounds so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical treatment,” a State Department spokesman said.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., issued the following statement:  “I am encouraged by the State Department’s decision to send Ambassador King to North Korea and I thank the administration for its continued efforts to secure Kenneth’s release. Kenneth’s family has waited in anguish and uncertainty, but has never wavered in their tireless advocacy on his behalf. I commend the work of Ambassador King and all the State Department staff members who have worked to get to this point. I will continue working with the State Department and Kenneth’s family to ensure his safe return home.”

Bae is now suffering from severe back and leg pain and has lost more than 50 pounds, his sister Terri Chung told CNN recently.

In a video released last month, Bae appealed to North Korean authorities for forgiveness and asked the United States for help in securing his release.

“Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well,” Bae said, his head shaved and face noticeably thinner than in earlier photos.

in that interview, he spoke of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver and a back problem.

“I know what I did is not easily forgivable, but I hope that things will work out so that I can be with my family again soon,” he said.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., issued the following statement:  “I am encouraged by the State Department’s decision to send Ambassador King to North Korea and I thank the administration for its continued efforts to secure Kenneth’s release. Kenneth’s family has waited in anguish and uncertainty, but has never wavered in their tireless advocacy on his behalf. I commend the work of Ambassador King and all the State Department staff members who have worked to get to this point. I will continue working with the State Department and Kenneth’s family to ensure his safe return home.”

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