U.S. adds sanctions on North Korea

North Korea's state-run media announced Sunday that an ethnic Korean man with US citizenship was "intercepted" two days ago by authorities for unspecified hostile acts against the country.

According to Kim Mi-ok, Kim Hak-song had been teaching agricultural techniques at Pyongyang University for Science and Technology and did not engage in any missionary work.

It was the second time within one month that North Korea has arrested American citizens for allegedly carrying out hostile activities against Pyongyang.

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. "When a USA citizen is reported to be detained in North Korea, we work with the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang" to try to secure their freedom.

The latest detention of a US citizen by North Korea, which raises the number of Americans in their custody to four, is "concerning", a White House spokesman said, amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The others are Otto Warmbier, serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts - he allegedly tried to steal a propaganda banner at his tourist hotel - and Kim Dong Chul, serving a 10-year term with hard labor for alleged espionage.

North Korea fired back at U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), calling him a "psychopath" and "human dirt".

North Korea on Friday accused the Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea of plotting to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong-Un.




In the past, North Korea has detained US citizens to use as bargaining chips in negotiations with the USA government.

The tension between totalitarian state North Korea and the United States seem to escalate even further now that the North detained yet another US citizen. It remains to be seen whether the pressure will produce a different North Korea approach to USA -related negotiations. He was visiting the country on one of a handful of a guided tours organized by private companies, in which foreign tourists are chaperoned by North Korean minders and shown the country's good side.

Either way, it should go without saying that any American who travels or works in North Korea is well advised to leave the country immediately.

"Last year they had a big harvest", she said.

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.

He was living in China near the border with North Korea and working in a special economic zone in the largely isolated country as president of a trade and hospitality company.

North Korea's announcement of the detainments comes amid tensions over fears that Pyongyang is preparing another round of nuclear or missile tests and comments.

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