The family has had no contact with Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, California, since he was detained on October 26, his son Jeff Newman said.
“This is a misunderstanding. My father is a (Korean War) veteran and wanted to see the country and culture he has been interested in for years,” Jeff Newman said. “He arranged this with a travel agent that was recommended and said was approved by the North Korean government for travel of foreigners. He had all the proper visas.”
The U.S. State Department is working to resolve the matter with North Korea’s top ally, China.
Ambassador Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative for North Korean policy, met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing for several hours Thursday.
“We are working very hard … to try to move this issue along,” Davies said after the session. “We certainly think that North Korea should think long and hard about (this) and understand that for the United States, this is a matter of core concern for us.”