Latest Salvo: N. Korea Detains a 3rd American

Korean-American university professor detained as he tried to fly out of Pyongyang
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2017 8:56 AM CDT
Latest Salvo: N. Korea Detains a 3rd American
In this Feb. 29, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea’s foreign minister defended the jailing of the American university student for alleged anti-state activities.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

North Korea has detained a US citizen, officials said Sunday, bringing to three the number of Americans now being held there, reports the AP. Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained Saturday as he was trying to leave the country from Pyongyang's international airport, according to Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Park said Kim, who is in his 50s, taught accounting at the university for about a month. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which minds consular affairs there for the United States, said it was aware of a Korean-American citizen being detained. Park said he was informed that the detention had "nothing to do" with Kim's work at the university but did not know further details. As of Sunday night, North Korea's official media had not reported on the detention.

South Korea could not confirm the detention, reports the New York Times, though South Korean media did report it. The detention comes at a time of unusually heightened tensions between the US and North Korea. Both countries have recently been trading threats of war and having another American in jail will likely up the ante even further. 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. Kim Dong Chul, who was born in South Korea but is also believed to have US citizenship, is serving a sentence of 10 years for espionage. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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