North Korea detains US citizen, the 3rd American being held there

The US has in the past accused North Korea of detaining its citizens to use them as pawns. It is unique in the North for its large number of foreign staff.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources, reported that a Korean-American man was arrested Friday at Pyongyang's worldwide airport while trying to leave North Korea.

The man, a Korean-American in his 50s identified only by his surname Kim, had been in North Korea for a month to discuss aid and relief activities, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said.

The three envoys also agreed that China has a key role in pressuring North Korea to abandon its missile and nuclear programs. It launched a missile one day after the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.

North Korea, which has been criticised for its human rights record, has in the past used detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States. Cmdr. Jang Wook from South Korean navy public affairs said there was no plan for a drill.

A U.S. naval battle group headed by an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, and described by President Donald Trump as an "armada", is expected to reach the Korean peninsula later in the week.

He becomes the third American to be detained by the North; one has been sentenced for spying, the other for trying to steal a sign from a hotel.

Russian Federation and China are reportedly mobilising forces around their respective borders, while South Korea has placed its military on combat readiness.

He was on his way out of the country, sources have said.

Relations between the two states have plummeted further in recent weeks as the DPRK steps up its missile programme and the USA strengthens its alliance with South Korea through military exercises close to its neighbour. "People put blindfolds on for decades and now it's time to solve the problem".

Nikki Haley, Trump's U.N. ambassador, said the United States is not looking for a fight with Kim and would not attack North Korea "unless he gives us reason to do something".

Americans still in North Korea should look for a way out - and quickly.

Asked about the threshold for USA action, Haley told American broadcaster NBC that "if you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, then obviously we're going to do that".

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said the status quo with nuclear-armed North Korea was unacceptable, calling for new sanctions on the country.

The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang said Sunday it was aware of a Korean-American citizen being detained recently, but could not comment further.

North Korea's military staged a "large-scale artillery drill" around the Wonsan region in the country's east on Tuesday, a statement from the South Korean military said. They should also be ready to explain why they were there in the first place.

  • Leroy Wright