Kerry warns North Korea after American's arrest

Secretary of State John Kerry put North Korea on notice Thursday that it was taking “dangerous steps” after the reclusive communist nation detained an American veteran last month. 

Kerry said the recent arrest comes on top of a slew of “very, very disturbing choices by the North Koreans” in recent weeks and months. The San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday that an 85-year-old Korean War veteran from California named Merrill Newman was pulled off a plane and detained without explanation three weeks ago as he was leaving the country.

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“North Korea really needs to recognize the dangerous steps it has been taking on many fronts – the treatment of its citizens, the start-up of its nuclear reactor, its re-dedication to nuclear policy – all contrary to what China, Russia, the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and the world have suggested is wise policy,” Kerry told reporters after an unrelated hearing on Capitol Hill.

Kerry called on North Korea to release Newman and others detained by Pyongyang. He said the United States is working cooperatively with the Chinese to get a “very clear plan of action” on denuclearization and other flash points with North Korea.

“So I think this is obviously one of those moments when North Korea needs to figure out where it's heading and recognize that the United States of America is not engaging in belligerent, threatening behavior,” Kerry said. 

“We are anxious proceed to a negotiation about denuclearization and to move away from these kinds of provocative actions.”

Neither the State Department nor North Korea have commented on the arrest. State however issued a blunt travel warning earlier this week advising Americans “against all travel” to North Korea because of the “risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.”

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