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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
US deserter reunited with mother
Charles Robert Jenkins, right, poses with his mother Pattie Casper in their reunion at his sister's home in Weldon, N.C. Tuesday, June 14, 2005.
Jenkins' mother is reported to be unwell
A former US soldier who deserted to North Korea in 1965 has been reunited with his mother after four decades apart.

Charles Robert Jenkins smiled as he linked arms with his mother Pattie, 91, in the town of Weldon, North Carolina.

Mr Jenkins, who now lives in Japan, is visiting the US with his Japanese wife and two daughters.

He left North Korea last year, giving himself up to US military authorities.

He was given a dishonourable discharge and put in a US military jail in Japan for 25 days.

"I feel very happy," Mr Jenkins, 65, told about 50 people, mostly media, who had gathered outside his sister's home in Weldon, where he met his mother.

"Thank you very much for coming, especially some of you who came all the way from Japan."

His reception in Weldon was mixed, with some residents voicing their disapproval.

"He should have been shot," Donald Gregory told Reuters news agency. "He should never have left his post."

Gus Brown, who runs a service station in Weldon, was more forgiving.

"The man done an honourable thing. He went to the government... and said, 'Here I am' and took whatever punishment they were going to give him."

Extraordinary story

Mr Jenkins' case has received widespread media attention, partly because very few US soldiers have deserted to North Korea and partly because of his extraordinary life in the North.

Mr Jenkins, who said he deserted to avoid fighting in Vietnam, slipped across the border from South Korea one night while on patrol in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.

In the North he married Hitomi Soga, one of five Japanese abducted by North Korea and freed in 2002. The couple has two North Korean-born children, Mika, 21, and Brinda, 19, and now live on the Japanese island of Sado, 300km (185 miles) north of Tokyo.

Hitomi Soga was 19 when she was kidnapped from Sado by North Korean agents in 1978.

She met Mr Jenkins soon afterwards, when she was introduced to him so he could teach her English.

After his wife was freed and left for Japan in 2002, Mr Jenkins finally arranged, with the help of the Japanese government, to meet her in Indonesia in July, before returning to Japan to face US justice.


SEE ALSO:
US army releases Korea deserter
27 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Jenkins deserted 'out of fear'
03 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
North Korean mystery solved
03 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan gripped by Cold War love story
18 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan pleads with US for Jenkins
19 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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