American detained in North Korea

The Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang, which represents US interests in North Korea, also confirmed the detention.

Kim is listed as an accounting professor on the website of PUST's sister institution in neighbouring China, the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST).

Though no details on why Kim was detained have been released, the detention comes at a time of unusually heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Kim had been in North Korea for a month to discuss relief activities and was arrested at Pyongyang International Airport on his way out of the country.

A Korean-American professor identified only by his surname, Kim, was detained at Pyongyang International Airport recently, reports Yonhap News Agency. On Sunday, North Korea said it was ready to sink the aircraft carrier that was sent to the region.

In Washington, the State Department said it was aware of reports that a US citizen was detained in North Korea but had no further comment because of privacy considerations.

The man, Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name, Kim Sang-duk, was detained on Saturday, Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, told the Associated Press.

North Korea was already holding two Americans.

Since 2013, at least two other U.S. citizens and a British journalist have also been detained for shorter periods and then released.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service as well as the unification and foreign ministries said they could not confirm the report.

But so far, the North Korean regime has not used Warmbier and Kim as leverage.

Otto Warmbier, 21, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained at Pyongyang airport on January 2 previous year after visiting the country with a tour group.

Americans are not the only foreigners being held in the North. The latter was arrested on charges of espionage. "Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a USA nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike", Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an opinion piece.

Upon visiting PUST in 2014, the BBC reported that students at the Western-style university are hand-selected by North Korea's government to attend. A strike on the carrier would be "an actual example to show our military's force".

In April 2016, authorities sentenced Kim Dong-chul, a 62-year-old naturalized US citizen born in South Korea, to 10 years of hard labor for spying.

United States vice president Mike Pence said on Saturday the carrier would arrive "within days" but gave no other details.

  • Leroy Wright