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January 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Kenneth Bae’s sister, mother to attend State of Union speech

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett.

WASHINGTON — The mother and sister of a former Lynnwood resident imprisoned in North Korea will attend Tuesday’s night State of the Union speech at the Capitol.

Myunghee Bae and her daughter, Terri Chung, of Edmonds will be the guests of  U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

The family had traveled to Washington, D.C., on their own to meet with members of Congress and, they hope, Secretary of State John Kerry. Their son and brother, Kenneth Bae, has been held in North Korea since November 2012 since being arrested for subversion while leading a tour group in the authoritarian country.

Bae, a Christian missionary, was living at the time in China with his wife and children. Earlier this month, Pyongyang released a video of Bae confessing to “serious crime” and pleading for the U.S. government to work to secure his release.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

Larsen hopes Chung and Myunghee Bae’s presence during President Obama’s speech in the House chamber “will draw more attention to Kenneth’s continued detention and show commitment on behalf of the U.S. government to secure his release home to his family,” said his spokesman, Bryan Thomas.

Rangel, a Korean War veteran, said in a statement that “nothing is more tragic than the separation of families and loved ones” and said “I hope North Korea would take steps to build trust and reconciliation by first reuniting the Bae family.”

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