North Korea detains 3 U.S. citizens

I Want Your Science: Scenes and Signs From the March for Science

I Want Your Science: Scenes and Signs From the March for Science

North Korea detained an American citizen who was trying to leave the country on Saturday. "A sign outside one station in the North Korean capital said sales were being restricted to diplomats or vehicles used by worldwide organizations, while others were closed or turning away local residents", the wire service said in the article, which was written in Pyongyang. "The protection of USA citizens is one of the Department's highest priorities".

"We understand this detention is related to an investigation into matters not connected in any way with the work of PUST", the school said.

The US State Department on Sunday said it was working on the case.

No one knows how the current crisis involving North Korea's nuclear and missile threats will play out.

Mr. Kim's detention come a particularly hard time, with tensions between Washington and Pyongyang at an all time high.

North Korea, which has been criticised for its human rights record, has in the past used detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

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At least two other USA citizens are known to be in North Korean custody.

Other Americans being held in North Korea include OH native Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was arrested in January 2016 while he was on a tour of North Korea, and Kim Dong Chul, who was arrested in October 2015 while in North Korea on business. Last year, Otto Warmbier, then a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

This week US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a tour of Asian nations, said the US was "reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang". He was released two years later.

And last May, North Korean security officers detained BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes as he was about to fly out of the country.

The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the USA, which has sent a carrier strike group towards the Korean Peninsula.

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