Former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Donald Gregg, arrived in North Korea on Monday, a fact that was briefly reported by the state media. There is some speculation that he is set to discuss the release of Kenneth Bae, an American citizen who remains in detention there.
Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea, is now the chairman of the Pacific Century Institute. He was invited to visit Pyongyang by the North Korean Foreign Ministry.
Regarding the Bae situation, Professor Thomas Plate, a member of the Pacific Century Institute’s board of directors, told Voice of America that Gregg and his companions had not specified what would be discussed during the meetings.
“I think they feel it would be impolite to raise the [Bae] issue,” he explained. “But, at the same time, I think they would be astonished if their counterparts up there were not aware that they would like to be some help if that were possible.”
Meanwhile, U.S. State Department official Marie Harf said on Monday that Gregg was not personally involved with Bae’s case and that he traveled to North Korea as part of a “private delegation."