Overseas now, and to the pleas being sent from america to free a veteran from the korean war, being held in north korea. Now the white house is pushing for his release, too. And here's abc's susan... See More
Overseas now, and to the pleas being sent from america to free a veteran from the korean war, being held in north korea. Now the white house is pushing for his release, too. And here's abc's susan saulny. So, I ask -- Reporter: In this north korean videotape, captive american tourist merrill newman is seen for the first time in nearly five weeks. Reading from an awkwardly phrased text, newman, an 85-year-old retired finance executive from california, appears to be apologizing for what he calls hostile acts against the communist north korean. That in u.S. And western countries, there is misleading information and propaganda about dprk. Reporter: New man had been an infantry officer in the korean war, a soldier, like the troops them moralized here. His friends and family said a lifelong dream had been to return to the land where he fought as a young man, this time, on a sightseeing tour. Soldiers who fought alongside newman told the news agency reuters that half a century ago he helped coordinate some of the most daring missions of the korean war -- a conflict the north koreans still see as ongoing, since no peace treaty was ever signed. Newman was about to return home, when a government official took him off a plane without explanation. The united states has no official diplomatic relations with north korea, but swedish embassy officials visited newman yesterday and said he is in good health. This weekend, as vice president biden prepares for a trip to asia, the obama administration weighed in for the first time, urging the north koreans to release newman, given his advanced age and health conditions. We just hope whatever that misunderstanding is will be resolved. Reporter: The newman family, hoping to have him home in time before the new year. Susan saulny, abc news, washington.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.