White House Calls for Merrill Newman's Freedom

America seeks release of a veteran held by North Korea as a war criminal.
3:00 | 12/01/13

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Transcript for White House Calls for Merrill Newman's Freedom
results of the invest gagts. The white house calling on north korea to free an u.S. Army veteran being held as a war criminal. This as his family gets an update on his health. Abc's jeff zeleny is covering the story from the white house. Reporter: Good morning, dan. It's turned into a nightmare for this american war veteran in north korea. The white house is weighing in for the first time. Urging north korea to release a u.S. Veteran of the korean war, held for nearly five weeks. A retired california finance executive and grandfather was an a sightseeing trip to north korea was he detained on october 26th. He appeared this weekend. He apologized for what he called hostile act. On this trip, I can understand that in u.S. And western countries there is misleading information and propaganda. Reporter: The new images of newman prompted a new rebuke from the obama administration. Given newman's advanced age and health conditions, we urge the dprk to release mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family. The united states has no official diplomatic relations with north korea, but swedish embassy officials visited newman on saturday, they said he's alive and receiving his medication. The newmanily implored the north korean government to take into account his health and his age and as an act of humanitarian compassion allow him to depart immediately for home. Now, there's optimism for his release, given his apparent treatment so far and reality of how serious this captivity is. Another american also accused has been held for more than a year. The state department and the white house warning again to u.S. Citizens not to travel to north korea. Dan and bianna. Jeff, our thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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