3rd US citizen held captive by North Koreans

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 25, 2017

"We are aware of reports that a USA citizen was detained in North Korea", said a department official.

It said the man, in his late 50s and identified by his surname, Kim, has been involved in aid and relief programs to North Korea and was a former professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China.

The reason for his arrest was not clear and there was no official statement issued by leader Kim Jong-un's regime.

Kim said they discussed ways to get more cooperation from China and Russian Federation, which they agreed is crucial to applying effective pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

At least two other U.S. citizens are known to be in North Korean custody. Experts on North Korea believe that the regime makes the arrests so that the detainees can be used as bargaining chips to negotiate with Washington.

A State Department official said it is aware of reports that a USA citizen has been detained in North Korea.

It is the third arrest of U.S. a citizen by North Korea recently.

Citing an unidentified South Korean government source, Yonhap reported that there were signs North Korea's military was carrying out large-scale, live-fire drills in areas around the east coast city of Wonsan.

The official said the department had no further comment due to privacy considerations.

On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea over its latest missile earlier this month.

Trump sent the carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

The detention comes amid a buildup of tension on the Korean peninsula.

"The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready", Pence said.

In January a year ago, USA student Otto Warmbier, 21, was arrested for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel while visiting North Korea. Kim was accused of stealing military secrets and is serving a 10-year sentence.

"I sincerely hope and pray that he will be released soon".

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