The White House

Office of the Vice President

Remarks to the Press by Vice President Joe Biden at the War Memorial of Korea

The War Memorial of Korea
Seoul, Republic of Korea

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  It’s a great honor to be here.  I was thanking the director for keeping alive the memory of some of these brave Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of the Korean people.  And I was surprisingly moved by looking down at the -- as I laid the wreath -- the names of Delawareans.  Two family members I know -- not my family members.  A fellow -- a great athlete I played ball with through high school, his dad’s name is on there, and others.  And so it brings home how real and how necessary our continued presence here is.

There is a piece of good news.  The DPRK today released someone they should never have had in the first place, Mr. Newman.  I’m told -- tried to get in contact with him -- he’s on his way or in China now.
I offered him a ride home on Air Force Two, but as he pointed out, there’s a direct flight to San Francisco, his home.  So I don't blame him.  I’d be on that flight too.

And it’s a positive thing they’ve done, but they have Mr. Bae, who is
-- has no reason being held in the North; should be released immediately.  And we demand his release as well.

So -- but this is one bright piece of sunshine today that Mr. Newman will be returned and reunited with his family.

Q    Have you talked with him?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  No, we were trying -- we tried to get a hold of him.  We communicated the offer of a ride back on Air Force Two, but it was pointed out I guess by State Department.  I’m not sure who Mr. Sullivan talked to, but he said, look, there’s a direct flight in three hours directly to his home in San Francisco.

Q    Did you play any role in securing his release, Mr. Vice President?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  No, I played no direct role.  Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. Vice President, do you have word about why, why he was released?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  No.

END

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