Kim Hak-song: North Korea detains fourth USA citizen amid nuclear tensions

Kim Jong Un

North Korea reportedly detains another American citizen

3pm BST: North Korea has detained another American citizen on suspicion of acts against the state, which if confirmed would make him the fourth US citizen to be held by the isolated country amid diplomatic tensions.

North Korea on Sunday said it detained another American citizen over unspecified hostile acts against the country.

North Korea's state news agency announced on Sunday that Kim Hak-song was taken into custody on May 6, and "a relevant institution is now conducting a detailed investigation into his crimes".

Song is the fourth US citizen now being held in North Korea. At least two other Americans are known to be held in the country.

North Korea has arrested another US citizen for alleged anti-state crimes.

"We are aware of reports that a USA citizen was detained in North Korea", the statement said.

One is former Virginia resident Kim Dong-chul, who had been living in the Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, and working in a special economic zone in the North as head of a trade and hotel services company.

Accounting professor Kim Sang-Duk, or Tony Kim, also a USA citizen, was held on April 22, the North confirmed last week, for trying to "overturn" the regime.

Kim "acquainted and examined the plan for fire strike of the newly organized forces at the objects of the enemy", according to the North Korean report.

Dr. Koh Yu Hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that taking hostages remained worth its while for North Korea. He was caught, tried, and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. In late April, another American was arrested at Pyongyang International Airport on similar charges.

South Korea's unification ministry said Monday that it is verifying information about North Korea's latest detainment of another United States citizen.

The allegation followed a near unanimous vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday to toughen sanctions on North Korea and other countries that help its nuclear and missile programs, including China. On Friday, Pyongyang accused South Korea and the US of planning to assassinate Kim Jong-un but has not otherwise responded to US President Donald Trump's recent comment that he would be "honoured" to meet the dictator.

Kim is the second of its personnel to have been detained in as many weeks.

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