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U.S. student detained in NK calls for end to hostile stance on Pyongyang

All Headlines 22:26 September 25, 2015

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. university student who has been detained in North Korea for months called for the United States and South Korea to change their hostile stance against Pyongyang, its state-run news agency said Friday.

Joo Won-moon, a 21-year-old student at New York University, has been held by the North since April when he was allegedly caught while crossing into the communist country. The North has claimed that he admitted to his "grave crime" during an interrogation.

"I hope that my words and story will be conveyed to others around the world, particularly the U.S. and South Korea, so that compassionate people and the media throughout the world extend an empathetic mind towards the DPRK," he said, referring to North Korea's official name. The interview was carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency monitored in Seoul.

"I ask the U.S. and South Korean governments to suspend their hostile attitude towards the DPRK and to change their policies regarding the recognition of the DPRK," he added.

Joo said that the North treated him "in a humanitarian way" despite being a "criminal" and allowed him to personally experience life in the country, which made him believe that the North is a "man-centered society where everything is for the benefit of the people."

He added that he has witnessed North Korean college students conversing in English, watching foreign movies in theaters and even reading western novels on the computer, emphasizing that the North is not an isolated country.

The student said that he did not receive any orders for what he said during the interview, emphasizing that he intends to spread "the truth" to the world.
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