SEOUL – North Korea said Monday it will deport an Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity, saying he had apologized for his anti-state religious acts in a news conference and requested forgiveness.
Authorities in North Korea have been investigating John Short since his arrest for secretly spreading Bible tracts near a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang on Feb. 16, the birthday of late leader Kim Jong Il, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
KCNA says North Korea decided to expel him thanks to the tolerance of the country’s laws and in consideration of his age.
North Korea has been holding a Korean-American missionary, Kenneth Bae, since November 2012. Bae, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for hostile acts, held a similar news conference to apologize for his behavior.
Also Monday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s National Defense Ministry said. The missiles are believed to have flown over 500 kilometers and appeared to be Scud-C missiles.
The Pentagon said the launch violated U.N. resolutions barring the firing of ballistic missiles, adopted by the Security Council in 2006 and 2009 after Pyongyang carried out nuclear tests.