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US missionary freed by N Korea arrives in Beijing

world Updated: Feb 06, 2010 08:57 IST

AFP
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US missionary Robert Park arrived in Beijing on Saturday after being freed by North Korea, where he had been held since December 25, Yonhap news agency said.

Park was likely to meet with journalists briefly before driving to the US embassy, Yonhap said.

The US embassy in Beijing refused to confirm Park's arrival.

"Robert Park is a private citizen", said embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson, adding she could not comment further.

Park, 28, entered the communist country on Christmas Day to urge leader Kim Jong-Il to resign for human rights abuses.

Park had expressed "sincere repentance" for his actions, which were prompted by "false propaganda" from the West, the North's official news agency said.

Analysts saw Pyongyang's decision to free Park as an attempt to improve ties as it pushes for dialogue with Washington, which welcomed the decision.

Sanctions-hit North Korea has said it wants better relations with the United States after decades of hostility. As a condition for returning to stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations, it wants Washington to agree to hold formal peace talks.