North Korea has detained on Friday a US citizen. He was arrested at Pyongyang International Airport on his way out of the country, South Korea’s news agency Yonhap reported. This bringing the total number of Americans held by the isolated leader to three.
The man, former Korean-American professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST), is known only by his surname Kim Yonhap said.
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He is in his fifties and had been visiting in North Korea for a month to discuss relief activities, Yonhap said on Sunday. The reason for his arrest was not clear.
Because there is no official diplomatic relationship between United States and North Korea, the Swedish Embassy looks after consular affairs between the two countries.
The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang said it was aware of a Korean-American citizen being detained recently, but could not comment further.
The two other Americans known for being in jail in North Korea are Otto Warmbier, a student at University of Virginia from suburban Cincinnati. He was arrested in 2016 when at age 21-year for trying to steal a propaganda banner. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison.
pastor Kim Dong Chul, was accused for espionage, is serving a sentence of 10 years. He was born in South Korea but is also believed to have U.S. citizenship.
News agency Yonhap said that since 2009, over 10 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea on charges of anti-state and other unspecified crimes. The widespread view has been that Pyongyang uses the detentions as bargaining chips in its negotiations with Washington.