Securing release of Americans held in North Korea a top priority: White House

U.S. missionary Bae appears before a limited number of media outlets in Pyongyang
Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American Christian missionary who has been detained in North Korea for more than a year, appears before a limited number of media outlets in Pyongyang in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 20, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Securing the release of the three Americans detained in North Korea is a top priority, the White House said on Tuesday.

"Securing the release of U.S. citizens is a top priority," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing. "We continue to do all we can to secure their earliest possible release."

On Monday, three American citizens detained in North Korea appealed to the U.S government for help returning home, speaking in rare interviews with U.S. media.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)