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us citizen detained in north korea


Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) has named the American citizen detained in North Korea on April 22 as Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim.

The Korean-American lecturer taught at the North Korean university for several weeks prior to his arrest.

Tony Kim was arrested just as he was about to leave Pyongyang.

North Korean authorities have not yet disclosed the reason for the arrest.

According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, Tony Kim, who is in his late 50s, was involved in aid programs and had been in North Korea to discuss relief activities.

Kim Sang-duk reportedly taught at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, which is affiliated to PUST.

Image source CNN

PUST’s chancellor, Park Chan-mo, was quoted by Reuters as saying that Tony Kim “had been involved with some other activities outside PUST such as helping an orphanage”.

The US State Department said it was aware of reports of the detention, but would not comment further because of “privacy considerations”, US media reported.

The detention comes as tensions ratchet up in the Korean peninsula, with US warships steaming towards the region as Pyonyang threatens a “super-mighty pre-emptive strike”.

Chinese state media reported that President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump spoke on the phone again on April 24.

Xi Jinping reiterated his call for calm saying he “hopes relevant parties exercise restraint, and avoid actions that would increase tensions”, and both leaders promised to keep in touch regarding the Korean peninsula, reports said.

US officials have not yet confirmed the call.

The US has in the past accused North Korea of detaining its citizens to use them as pawns. Tony Kim is one of three US citizens currently being held by North Korea.

In April 2016, Kim Dong-chul, a 62-year-old naturalized US citizen born in South Korea, was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labor for spying. He was arrested in October 2015.

American student Otto Warmbier, 21, was arrested in January 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel while visiting North Korea.

Otto Warmbier was given 15 years hard labor for crimes against the state in March 2016.

American citizen Jeffrey Fowle has been released by the North Korean authorities, US officials say.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was one of three US citizens detained in North Korea.

State department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that Jeffrey Fowle was on his way home on October 21 following negotiations.

Marie Harf said the US was working to secure the release of two other US nationals, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, who remain in detention in North Korea.

The US has accused North Korea of using the detained Americans as pawns in a diplomatic game.

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country. He was charged with “anti-state” crimes.

He was reported to have left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin but his family has insisted that he was not on a mission for his church.

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country

Missionary activity is considered a crime in North Korea.

In August, Jeffrey Fwle and fellow detainee Matthew Miller made a televised appeal to the US government to help secure their release.

Responding to the appeal, the US authorities vowed to make securing the release of the detainees a “top priority”.

Matthew Miller was later sentenced to six years’ hard labor for committing “hostile acts”.

The state department’s Marie Harf said Washington welcomed Jeffrey Fowle’s release, adding that US officials “remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK [North Korea] to immediately release them”.

She said North Korea had asked the US government to transport Jeffrey Fowle out of the country as a condition of his release.

Marie Harf also thanked Sweden, which serves as the US protecting power in North Korea, for the “tireless efforts” of its embassy in Pyongyang.

No reason was given for Jeffrey Fowle’s release.

Washington has been trying to send high-level representatives to negotiate the detainees’ release, but these visits have been cancelled by North Korea in recent months.

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