November 30, 2013 11:03 pm -

One of the detainees is Merrill Newman, an 85-year-0ld veteran of the Korean War.

Given Newman’s “advanced age and health conditions, we urge the DPRK to release Mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family,” Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said Saturday, according to multiple media outlets.

The White House also urged North Korean authorities to release Kenneth Bae, an American who has been held in Korea for more than a year, Reuters reported. “We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in custody,” Hayden said in the statement.

Earlier Saturday, North Korea’s state media claimed Newman — a retired finance executive — apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state during a recent trip.