Another US citizen detained in North Korea

North Korea has arrested a U.S. citizen, officials say, in the latest case of an American being held in the country.

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

The United States has in the past accused North Korea's government of detaining US citizens for use as political pawns.

A USA citizen was reportedly detained by the North Korean authorities at Pyongyang International Airport on his way out of the country on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported citing sources on Sunday.

Yonhap said Kim, in his late 50s, had been involved in aid programs in North Korea and had most recently been there for about a month.

South Korea's unification ministry and its intelligence agency both said they were unable to confirm the report.

The other is Kim Dong-chul, a naturalized USA citizen born in South Korea.

The latest detention comes at a time of particularly tense relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

"We understand this detention is related to an investigation into matters not connected in any way with the work of PUST", the school said.

Trump has taken a tough line after a string of missile tests created to show of North Korea's might - including a humiliating failed launch last Sunday.

A Canadian pastor, Hyeon Soo Lim, has also been held in the country since early 2015.

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

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.

Ahn Chan-il, director of the World North Korea Research Center in Seoul, told Yonhap that Pyongyang "seems to be intending to use professor Kim as leverage in negotiations".

"We call on (North Korea) to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its global obligations and commitments and return to serious talks".

Last year, Otto Warmbier, then a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

"If Australia persists in following the US' moves to isolate and stifle North Korea ... this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of North Korea". Last year, North Korea sentenced him to 10 years of hard labor on espionage charges.

  • Leroy Wright