North Korea Is Being Slightly Nicer to Its American Prisoner

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Photo: KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images

After sentencing American citizen Kenneth Bae to a prison camp where his sister told CNN he lost 50 pounds, developed severe back and leg pain, and developed kidney stones, dizziness, and blurred vision, North Korea has decided to send him to a hospital. So "nicer" isn't saying a whole lot. It's also letting him send letters, which the New York Times portrayed as a hopeful sign: "The letters, which bore a Pyongyang postmark, could not have been sent without North Korea’s approval and were seen by some experts as a sign that the authorities were open to negotiations concerning Mr. Bae." The new developments follow Jimmy Carter's assertion that he was not trying to visit the North to advocate for Bae's freedom, as had been rumored. Perhaps Kim Jong-un is hoping to change his mind.