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Asia-pacific

North Korea arrests US tourist over ‘illegal’ activities

© Photo: AFP (file)

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-06

North Korea has arrested a US tourist for violating visa regulations, Pyongyang's state media said on Friday. In total, three Americans are now believed to be held by the reclusive regime.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that authorities had a detained a man in mid-May and that he was in custody and undergoing questioning. It identified him only in Korean without providing the English spelling of his name.

"The US Citizen, who entered the DPRK [North Korea] on April 29 as a tourist, engaged in activities that were in breach of DPRK's laws", KCNA said. It gave no other details.

The man is believed to be the third US citizen currently detained by North Korea. The two others include 24-year-old US tourist Matthew Todd Miller, who was arrested in April after he apparently ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum in the communist state.

Kenneth Bae, described by a North Korean court as a militant Christian evangelist, is also being held in the country after he was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years' hard labour on charges of seeking to topple the government.

North Korea has twice cancelled visits by Robert King, the US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to discuss Bae’s case.

The United States has no diplomatic ties with North Korea and the interests of its citizens in the country are represented by Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang.

North Korea has detained and then released other Americans in the past year, including Korean War veteran Merrill E. Newman.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

Date created : 2014-06-06

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