Consular visits Kenneth Bae at NKorea labor camp

Kenneth Bae, a former University of Oregon student was arrested in early November 2012

Ken Bae
Kenneth Bae, a U.S. tour operator, has been detained in North Korea since early November 2012. This image comes from a Facebook page dedicated to his release. (Facebook, April 30, 2013)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The State Department says the Swedish Embassy in North Korea has visited a detained American at a labor camp.

FILE - This 1988 file photo provided by Bobby Lee shows Kenneth Bae, right, and Lee together when they were freshmen students at the University of Oregon. Bae, detained for nearly six months in North Korea, has been sentenced to 15 years of "compulsory labor" for unspecified crimes against the state, Pyongyang announced Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Bobby Lee, File)
FILE – This 1988 file photo provided by Bobby Lee shows Kenneth Bae, right, and Lee together when they were freshmen students at the University of Oregon. Bae, detained for nearly six months in North Korea, has been sentenced to 15 years of “compulsory labor” for unspecified crimes against the state, Pyongyang announced Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Bobby Lee, File)

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.

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