WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea's release of an Ohio man this week was a surprise to a retired American ambassador who negotiated with Pyongyang for Jeffrey Fowle's freedom.
Tony Hall, a former diplomat and congressman from Ohio, said on Wednesday the U.S. push for Fowle's release also included efforts from Sweden, China, Japan and Mongolia.
Hall said he spoke with Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations three times and described conversations with high-ranking officials in North Korea whom he would not name.
Hall called Fowle's release a major step for North Korea, which he said may be trying to open relations with the U.S.
He did not know in advance that Fowle was to be freed and was not involved in talks to free two other Americans detained in North Korea.