“Many people will read too much into [Bae’s release]. What we’ve seen over the decades is that North Korea alternates between belligerent threats and even aggressive actions and charm offensives,” said Bruce Klingner, a Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation.
In dispatching King, rather than a more prominent diplomat or former US president, the State Department weighed the well-being of a citizen against gestures that might undermine its policy toward a bellicose state, Klingner said.
Earlier this year, North Korea threatened to stage nuclear attacks on the US, among other military actions.
Rick Larsen, a US congressman from Washington state, where Bae’s family lives, has called for Bae’s release.
“Kenneth’s family has waited in anguish and uncertainty, but has never wavered in their tireless advocacy on his behalf,” Larsen said in a statement.