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North Korea Saturday released a detained American veteran of the Korean War as US Vice President Joe Biden visited the world's last Cold War frontier. US officials said Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old from California, headed home after arriving in Beijing. North Korea deported him "from a humanitarian viewpoint", its official Korean Central News Agency said, citing his "sincere repentance" as well as his age and health condition. His release came hours before Biden visited the demilitarised zone which has split the Korean peninsula since the 1950-1953 Korean War.