After months in detention in North Korea, a New York University student is reportedly about to be released.
According to a South Korean Unification Ministry official, Moon was handed over to his native country at the Panmunjom truce village along the border.
Joo was arrested after crossing the Yalu River into the North from the Chinese border city of Dandong on April 22.
Last month, Joo was presented to the media in Pyongyang and asserted he had not been able to contact his family yet wanted them to know he was healthy.
The USA and South Korea have accused North Korea of launching disguised tests of its long-range missile technology, which is banned by the United Nations.
Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University said by freeing Joo, North Korea showed it still wants better ties with South Korea and won’t likely push ahead with its rocket launch plans.
The MoU called the North’s decision to repatriate Joo a positive step, but said it should also repatriate detained South Koreans Kim Jung-uk, Kim Kook-gi and Choi Chun-kil in Northern side.
Joo Won-moon’s release is being applauded by South Korea, and several humanitarian organizations.
Unlike a few other foreign citizens detained in North Korea, he was never put on trial.
The release of Joo comes just days before the North celebrates the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday. In an interview with CNN in May, he said he hoped his journey “could have a good effect in the relationship”. Joo says he sought arrest as a way to fix relations between North and South Korea.
The company stated the techniques used coincided with that of cyber assaults that befell in March 2013 by North Korea on three South Korean banks, their insurance coverage associates and three tv broadcasters, elevating suspicions that Pyongyang could possibly be behind the assault.
“This visit, of course, is very significant and timely”, Cho said of Blinken’s visit at the start of their talks. In April, he traveled to China – where he crossed the border into North Korea.
“He and his family have been in our thoughts”, NYU spokesman John Beckman said.
China remains North Korea’s most important economic partner, but Pyongyang has relied on other outside sources of income.
He was sentenced to hard labor for life in May 2014.
The government’s National Intelligence Service will determine whether Joo violated security laws by entering North Korea without permission.