PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A South Korean citizen and resident of the U.S. who has been detained in North Korea for five months was presented to the media in Pyongyang on Friday and said he has not been able to contact his family but wanted them to know he is healthy.
Joo Won-moon, 21, is a student at New York University. He 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.
North Korean authorities arranged a press conference for him Friday in Pyongyang. For most of the 30-minute appearance, Joo read a prepared — and probably coached — speech full of praise for the country, its government and people.
Other foreigners who have 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 is going to happen to him, though he hoped to be allowed to go home soon.
He said he has so far not been able to contact his family in the U.S., but told reporters he hoped to reassure them he is healthy.
Friday was the latest in a series of media appearances Joo has made while detained in North Korea.
North Korean authorities have not said how they are going to handle Joo's case, whether he will be prosecuted or released.