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Jan 20, 2014 9:28 PM by Kate Tripp

American held in North Korea speaks for first time since imprisonment

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Family members are hoping that today's statement from Kenneth Bae, an American who's been held in North Korea for more than a year, might be a step toward his release.

Speaking in front of reporters in the North Korean capital, the American missionary apologized and said he had committed anti-government acts. He also said his situation had been made more difficult because of statements from U.S. officials and even from his own family that he had done nothing wrong.

Bae appealed to the U.S. government to do its best to win his release.

He was under guard during the appearance.

A family friend in Seattle says it was heartbreaking to see him in a prison uniform but encouraging to see and hear him. He says he doesn't know whether today's apology may be part of some process that will lead to Bae's release. He was seized in November 2012 while leading a tour group.

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