North Korea Says It Has Detained Third US Citizen

Friday, 06 Jun 2014 06:56 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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North Korea announced on Friday that it has arrested an American citizen on grounds that he was conducting illegal activities, The New York Times reported.

The official Korean Central News Agency said that Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered North Korea April 29 and had "perpetrated activities that violated the laws of our republic, which did not fit his stated purpose of visiting our republic as a tourist."

The statement added, "Our related agency has detained him and is investigating him."

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"We are aware of reports that a third U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea," a U.S. State Department official said, according to the Times. "There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad." The newspaper didn't identify the spokesman.

No other information about Fowle was provided by either North Korea or U.S. officials.

The secretive regime, led by dictator Kim Jong-un, is said to be holding two other American citizens, including Kenneth Bae, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after he was seized by authorities in 2012.

Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was found guilty attempting to set up an underground proselytizing network, while using his tourism business as a front, the Times said.

North Korea also claimed that it had seized American Matthew Todd Miller, who allegedly ripped up his visa and demanded asylum after arriving in Pyongyang in April.

It has been claimed that the country arrests foreign citizens as a political bargaining tool to force America and other nations into negotiations, the Times added.

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