By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason
The White House said on Tuesday that detained American tourist Jeffrey Fowle had been released from North Korea and was on his way home to be with his family.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States welcomed the move but pressed North Korea to release two other US citizens as well.
“While this is a positive decision … we remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK to immediately release them,” Earnest said, referring to North Korea. The United States will continue to work actively on those cases, he said.
North Korea made it a condition of Fowle’s release that the US government transport him out of the country. The Department of Defense provided that transportation within the time frame that was set, officials said.
Fowle, 56, a street repair worker from Miamisburg, Ohio, was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a club for foreign sailors in the North Korean city of Chongjin.
Miller was arrested in April for a separate incident.
Bae, a missionary who was arrested in November 2012, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
The United States expressed thanks to the government of Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang, for its efforts on Fowle’s case. Sweden acts as a “protecting power” for the United States there.