The US citizen imprisoned in North Korea has appealed to the regime’s authorities for forgiveness and asked the US to “try harder” to seek his release.

Speaking for the first time since he was detained, Kenneth Bae said in an interview with Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea organization based in Tokyo, that he hoped to be freed soon.

Bae, whose Korean name is Pae Jun Ho, was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged crimes against the regime.

“I mainly work at the farm in this prison, from morning to dinnertime, eight hours a day,” Bae, with a shaved head and wearing a stained blue prison uniform, said in the interview obtained by CNN.

“Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well,” he said. “And I hope that with the help of the North Korean government and the United States, I will be released soon.”

He says he admits to his crime and now seeks forgiveness. “I know what I did is not easily forgivable, but I hope that things will work out so that I can be with my family again soon,” he pleaded.

The release of the short interview video comes on the heels of proposed high-level talks between North Korea and the US.

“He’s being used as a bargaining chip,” Jasper Kim, of the Asia Pacific Global Research Group, told CNN.