US urging North Korea to release detained American

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FILE - This 2005 file photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, in Palo Alto, Calif. North Korea state media say U.S. tourist Newman, who has been detained for more than a month, has apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for "hostile acts" against the state during a recent trip. There was no direct word from 85-year old Newman and his alleged apology released Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, couldn't be independently confirmed. Pyongyang, North Korea, has been accused of previously coercing statements from detainees. (AP Photo/Palo Alto Weekly, Nicholas Wright, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is urging North Korea to release an 85-year-old American who's been detained for more than a month.

Retired finance executive Merrill Newman, who fought in the Korean War, was taken off a plane Oct. 26 by North Korean authorities while preparing to leave after a 10-day visit.

Newman's son has said his father wanted to return to the country where he spent three years during the war.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says that given Newman's age and health — he's on heart medication — North Korea should release him so he can be reunited with his family.

North Korea state media claims Newman apologized for alleged crimes during the war and for "hostile acts" against the North during his trip.

That claim couldn't be independently confirmed.