North Korea detention of fourth U.S. citizen 'concerning' - White House

FILE - In this March 13, 2017 file photo, a CCTV surveillance camera attached by the entrance gate at the North Korean Embassy monitors passersby in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On Sunday, Kim Hak Song became the fourth American citizen now jailed by the repressive regime, on charges such as espionage and "crimes against the state".

One former classmate in the U.S., David Lee, said Kim Hak-song was known to send food to North Korea out of concern for the starving people. A few months later, hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment computers and released thousands of emails, documents, Social Security numbers and other personal information in an attempt to derail the movie's release.

The wife of a US citizen who worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) and was detained from leaving North Korea this weekend pleaded for his immediate release.

"During that visit, Mr Kim was at PUST to do agricultural development work with PUST's experimental farm", it said in a statement.

North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA reported Sunday that "a relevant institution is now conducting detailed investigation" into Kim's crimes, but provided no further details on his detention. President Donald Trump has made the issue a foreign policy priority and used trade deals to encourage Chinese President Xi Jinping to put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program.

North Korea said Kim Sang-dok was arrested "for committing criminal acts", but did not elaborate.

The detentions also come amid heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "Our nuclear power is a result of the USA hostile policy against us", the ambassador said.

Friday's report said that a "hideous terrorist group" conspired with the CIA and South Korea's National Intelligence Service to mount the "bio-chemical" attack. "They may be able to cause some damage within the [Asian] region".

Windsor John said Malaysian football chiefs had "no justification" to seek a neutral venue since they had confirmed there was no longer a travel ban.

"Life on campus and the teaching at PUST is continuing as normal for the Spring semester".

"Second, it portrays North Korea as the victim, which Pyongyang can use to counter the narrative in the global media of the North being the aggressor and the party in the wrong".

"There, in that relentless vacuum, nothing moved". She said PUST told her over the phone that Kim had boarded a train in Pyongyang. He is a faculty member at PUST.

The killing of Kim Jong-Nam - the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un - in February sparked a diplomatic row which saw both countries banning each other's citizens from leaving and withdrawing their ambassadors.

  • Leroy Wright