Tags: Koreas | US | detain | citizen

NKorea Detains U.S. Citizen for 'Trespassing'

Wednesday, 27 Jan 2010 11:47 PM


North Korea has arrested an American man for illegally entering the country across the border with China, according to its state media.

The Korean Central News Agency, the official mouthpiece of the authorities in Pyongyang, said the man was detained on Monday and is being questioned.

The short report said the man was "trespassing" but did not name the man or provide any further details. The United States embassy in Seoul said it has yet to confirm the report.

It was the second time in a month that North Korea has arrested a US citizen, after detaining Robert Park, a Christian missionary, in December. Mr Park, 28, swam across the icy Tumen river on Christmas Day, shouting that he had brought God's love into North Korea and urging Kim Jong-il, the country's leader, to step down.

Commentators believe that Mr Park is now being held as a bargaining chip with the US in future negotiations over the North's nuclear ambitions.

Last August, Bill Clinton, the former US President, flew to North Korea to arrange the release of two American journalists that had been held for around four months for illegally entering the country.

Meanwhile, tensions between the North and South continued as the North resumed firing artillery shells towards a South Korean island near the sea border between the two countries.

A defence official in Seoul told the Yonhap news agency that the North had begun firing just after 8 o'clock in the morning, and that the shells fell within the North's own waters. The shooting comes a day after Pyongyang fired as many as 100 shells, prompting South Korea to fire warning shots in response.

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