Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

North Korea detains another USA citizen


North Korean state media said Sunday that the country has detained American Kim Hak Song, who is accused of "hostile acts" against the country.

"I wonder if Kim Jong Un has become paranoid about the influence Americans are having on North Koreans, and about the possibility of US action against him", said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst and North Korea expert at the RAND Corporation.

Kim had also been working at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, in agricultural development with its "experimental farm", the university said in a statement.

The other two Americans already held in North Korea are Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student, and Kim Dong Chul, a 62-year-old Korean-American missionary.

Another American detained in April, Tony Kim, also taught at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was arrested for trying to "overturn" the regime.

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This image made from May 21, 2014, video shows the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

The State Department said it was aware of the report of the new detention and that "the security of USA citizens is one of the department's highest priorities". She said that they're trying to send a message that they're powerful, strong and can make the US suffer.

A group of North Korean officials is meeting with former USA officials in Oslo for a round of informal talks known as Track 1.5.

Two other USA citizens also are being held in North Korea. DPRK is short for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

David Lee, another former classmate in the USA, said that Kim would send food to North Korea out of concern for the starving people. "I would say that advocacy is a great way to get involved".

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While at least one former USA government official was participating, the US administration was not involved, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Wright explains, "Basically, worship of the ruling family is mandated, and that means those who don't comply, often including Christians, can be arrested, tortured, killed, and we know for a fact that many of them are actually confined today in modern day labor camps".

During an interview with National Public Radio earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington would "obviously" like to solve the issue through direct talks, but that North Korea had to decide whether they were "ready to talk to us about the right agenda".

The new detentions come amidst growing tensions between the US and North Korea.

North Korea has vowed retaliation for an alleged failed assassination attempt against its leader Kim Jong-un.

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Korea studies professor Stephan Haggard of the University of California San Diego described these two recent arrests as "classic asymmetric warfare", to Time magazine, with North Korea "nabbing" American citizens in response to pressure against its nuclear and missile programs.

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