North Korea said to detain third United States citizen

North Korea recently detained a USA citizen at Pyongyang's airport as he was about to leave the country, officials said on April 23.

The official said the United States would work with the Swedish Embassy on the matter, but did not provide further comment.

Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, was teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a statement from the school said.

He said Kim was detained by officials as he was trying to leave the country from Pyongyang's global airport.

Otto Warmbier, 21, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained at Pyongyang airport on January 2 past year after visiting the country with a tour group. The embassy looks after consular affairs for the North Korea because the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

North Korea is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the US, and analysts say it could soon conduct its sixth-ever nuclear test. Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old student at the University of Virginia, was detained at the Pyongyang airport last year.

In March 2016, Korean-American Kim Dong Chul, 62, was sentenced to 10 years hard labor for subversion.

Kim, who is in his early 60s, was born in South Korea but became a US citizen in 1987, although he is thought to have been living in northeastern China in recent years. He was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, allegedly for removing a political sign from a hotel wall. Now, the North Koreans can use the American as leverage in any negotiations.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have escalated recently over the possibility of military action, but it's not just world leaders who are feeling the pressure of the tension. Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen in his 60s, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2015 on charges of trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping US and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens. "We have been informed and can confirm that there has been a detention of a USA citizen Saturday morning local", she said. Vice-President Mike Pence, who recently visited South Korea on a Pacific tour, said on Saturday the strike group would arrive "within days" but gave no other details. He was released later that year.

The State Department said it was aware of the report about a US citizen being detained, but declined further comment "due to privacy considerations".

Trump sent an aircraft carrier-led strike group described as "armada" to the Korean peninsula to press his point, one of a series of measures that indicate his willingness to shake up foreign policy strategy.

Can you really blame North Korea?

  • Leroy Wright