WASHINGTON (AP) – The State Department says the Swedish Embassy in North Korea has visited a detained American at a labor camp.
Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday this week’s visit was the 12th by Swedish representatives since Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012. He is serving 15 years of hard labor for alleged hostile acts against North Korea.
Sweden handles consular cases for the U.S. because Washington does not have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. He’s one of three Americans now held.
Harf said the department spoke to Bae’s family after Monday’s visit.
She gave no update on Bae’s condition. His family says he has diabetes, heart and liver problems.
Bae recently told a pro-North Korean newspaper his health was worsening and he felt abandoned by the U.S. government.
Bae, from Lynnwood, Washington and a former University of Oregon student was arrested in early November 2012 in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea’s far northeastern region bordering China and Russia.
In May 2013, former NBA star Dennis Rodman tapped his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a Bae.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim’, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.