North Korea Detains Fourth American Citizen on Charges of 'Hostile Acts'

Parents of detained American seek Trump's help

Parents of detained American seek Trump's help

He was detained on Saturday and "a relevant institution" was "conducting a detailed investigation" into Kim Hak-song's alleged crimes, North Korea's state run news agency KCNA reported.

It comes just days after Donald Trump said he would be "honoured" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as tensions continue to escalate between the United States and North Korea. "When a U.S. citizen is reported to be detained in North Korea, we work with the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang", a State Department official said in an emailed statement, declining to provide further details for privacy reasons.

"During that visit, Mr Kim was at PUST to do agricultural development work with PUST's experimental farm", the statement reads.

Kim's arrest makes him the fourth USA citizen to be detained by North Korea and the second PUST-affiliated American to be detained in recent weeks.

Last Wednesday the North confirmed the arrest on April 22 of Kim Sang-Duk, or Tony Kim, for trying to "overturn" the regime.

The university said that Kim Hak-song, like Tony Kim, was detained not because of his university work but for other reasons.

Washington said it was "aware of reports that a USA citizen was detained in North Korea" and would liaise with Pyongyang.

Congress is in the midst of approving new sanctions against North Korea that target the country's shipping industry and workforce amid heightened tensions over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

PUST was founded by an evangelical Christian entrepreneur in 2010 and mainly teaches North Korea's elite.

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PUST has more than 60 foreign faculty members, including from the United States, Canada, Britain and China, its website says.

Kim Hak-song's arrest comes as the already strained relationship between North Korea and the US continues to deteriorate.

This is not the first time North Korea detains Americans. A U.S. State Department official who spoke anonymously to Yonhap said the meeting is not in any way affiliated with the Trump administration. He became a naturalized USA citizen more than a decade ago.

"I was speechless, I was in shock", she said.

Four US citizens are now being held in North Korea, a country with which the US has no diplomatic relations and has technically remained at war with since the 1950-53 Korean conflict.

The U.S. State Department noted on Sunday that it was aware of the latest arrest.

In the last three weeks, two USA citizens have been detained by the North Korean regime.

"In other words, have we become conditioned to revising norms and compromising principles in the process of trying to change Pyongyang?"

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