A special envoy will travel to North Korea this week to seek the release of jailed American Christian Kenneth Bae, CBN News reports. "We remain deeply concerned about the health and welfare of Kenneth Bae, the American citizen currently detained in North Korea," the White House said in a statement. "We urge the government of North Korea to grant special clemency to Mr. Bae immediately and allow him to return home." Bae, 45, is an American tour operator and Christian missionary who was arrested last November and accused of "hostile acts" against the government. He has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and is now in poor health. Robert King, a State Department special envoy for human rights issues, will request a pardon and amnesty for Bae on humanitarian grounds. Meanwhile, Rep. Rick Larsen, who represents the Washington state district where Bae is from, said he was heartened by the agency's decision to send an envoy. "Kenneth's family has waited in anguish and uncertainty, but has never wavered in their tireless advocacy on his behalf," Larsen said in a statement. "I will continue working with the State Department and Kenneth's family to ensure his safe return home."