Risk of casualties seen staying US' hand in North Korea

YUST, a university in neighbouring China, has a sister university in Pyongyang.

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

North Korea, which has been criticized for its human rights record, has in the past used detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency gave Kim's age as 55 and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea.

South Korean media have cited research by a USA foundation in 2013 suggesting that a war on the Korean Peninsula could cause combined military and civilian casualties on a par with World War I. And an American research firm estimated in 2004 that a nuclear strike on Seoul could kill over a million people, a South Korean newspaper said.

Park said Kim, who is 58, taught accounting at the university for about a month.

ZHANG LIANGUI: (Through interpreter) North Korea has already clearly stated that it's not interested in a dialogue with the U.S. So they're not necessarily detaining this man for the sake of a dialogue.

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

Washington recently dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group to the region as a warning to Pyongyang.

Other restrictions could include measures aimed at drying up the North's revenue sources, such as an embargo among United Nations member states on agricultural products like ginseng and seafood being imported from North Korea and a worldwide ban on the use of North Korean forced labor, Cha said.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea of Japan while the USA was conducting annual military drills with South Korea.

South Korea and Japan - both key U.S. allies in the region - have condemned frequent North Korean missile launches that are all banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. Kim was accused of stealing military secrets and is serving a 10-year sentence.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Haley if a pre-emptive strike against North Korea was being considered and whether President Donald Trump's administration was actively planning for such a move.

  • Leroy Wright