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January 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Kenneth Bae’s sister calls Dennis Rodman’s comments ‘appalling’

Fresh off her appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ Tuesday evening, Terri Chung continued to express frustration over Dennis Rodman’s latest comments about Kenneth Bae, her imprisoned brother in North Korea.

Terri Chung holds a letter sent from her brother, Kenneth Bae, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Terri Chung holds up a photo of her brother, Kenneth Bae, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In a phone interview afterward, Chung said she was awakened at 4 a.m. to the news of Rodman’s meltdown during his morning appearance with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. (I wrote about that in this Opinion NW blog post.)

“I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s one thing for him to say he’s not a diplomat that he’s not going to advocate for Kenneth Bae. He’s refused to help. That’s his choice,” she said. “But then he throws these accusations at Kenneth when he clearly has no clue what he’s talking about. It was appalling and beyond me.”

This 2011 file family photo provided by Terri Chung shows Kenneth Bae. Bae, the latest of several Americans jailed by North Korea in recent years, has already waited longer for his freedom than any of the others had to. But as his health deteriorates, Washington and Pyongyang appear unable to negotiate, each wary of giving concessions to the other. (AP Photo/Courtesy Terri Chung, File)

This 2011 file family photo provided by Terri Chung shows Kenneth Bae.  (AP Photo/Courtesy Terri Chung, File)

Chung said the recent news of political purges and executions in Pyongyang has elevated her concerns for her brother’s safety. The family was able to speak to him on the phone Dec. 29. The 45-year-old tour operator told them he remains hospitalized with severe back problems. Chung says Bae spoke to his children for the first time since his detainment began in November 2012.

“He misses them and he wants to come home,” she said. “I just don’t want Kenneth to be forgotten. And I also don’t want Kenneth to be used as a media story. This isn’t some game. Dennis Rodman can play all the publicity stunts he wants with his own self, but this isn’t a game. This is someone’s life, a father of three who deserves to come home.”

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Comments | Topics: bill richardson, cnn, david stern

July 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Bill Richardson: ‘I don’t want you all to forget Kenneth Bae’

Frankly, not many media outlets or people seem to care about Kenneth Bae, the American sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison for alleged “hostile acts” against the state. Bill Richardson is an exception and the highest-profile American since former NBA star Dennis Rodman to call for an “unorthodox” approach to getting the Lynnwood tour operator back home with his family.

Last week, the former governor of New Mexico and one of the country’s foremost experts on North Korea appealed for journalists to keep attention on Bae, a  tour operator who has been detained since last November. CNN recently obtained video with a plea from Bae for help, but the video has not gained much traction with the public.

During remarks  at a Thursday Asia Society event called “Searching for Peace with North Korea,” Richardson said, “Somehow, the cries for his release, humanitarian release has not been as strong as other detainees.”

Watch the full event below in video provided by the Asia Society. For the parts about Kenneth Bae, forward to about 6:00 and 1:10:30 in the video.

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Comments | Topics: bill richardson, Dennis Rodman, kenneth bae