Detained NYU Student Says N. Korea Is Great

Pyongyang paraded Joo Won-moon, 21, in front of media today
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 25, 2015 9:21 AM CDT
Detained NYU Student Says N. Korea Is Great
In this July 14, 2015, file photo, Joo Won-moon, a South Korean student at NYU, is interviewed at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (Kim Kwang Hyon)

A South Korean citizen and resident of the US who has been detained in North Korea for five months was presented to the media in Pyongyang today and said he hasn't been able to contact his family but wanted them to know he's healthy. Joo Won-moon, 21, a student at New York University, has admitted to entering North Korea illegally in April, but it remains unclear if North Korea plans to prosecute him or release him to go home. For most of today's 30-minute appearance, the latest in a series of media appearances Joo has made while detained in North Korea, he read a prepared—and probably coached—speech full of praise for the country, its government, and its people.

Other foreigners who've been detained in the North have said after their release that they were coerced or coached closely on what to say in such statements. Joo was allowed to answer some questions after the statement and said he didn't know what's going to happen to him, though he hoped to be allowed to go home soon. North Korean authorities haven't said yet how they're going to handle Joo's case. (In May, Joo told CNN he "wanted to be arrested.")

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