23:41 GMT +325 May 2018
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    North Korea Detains One More US Citizen Suspected of 'Hostile Acts'

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    Asia & Pacific
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    North Korea has detained another American citizen suspected of "hostile acts" against the country, KCNA state news agency reported.

    If the accusations are confirmed by the North Korean authorities, US citizen Kim Hak Song, who worked for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, would become the fourth American held by the DPRK amid rising tensions between the countries.

    "A relevant institution of the DPRK detained American citizen Kim Hak Song on May 6 under a law of the DPRK on suspension of his hostile acts against it," the North Korean agency reported as quoted by Reuters.

    The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology which opened in 2010 was created by Christians. North Korean elite's children are most of the university's students, according to media reports.

    On April 22, US citizen engaged in relief efforts in Pyongyang was detained attempting to leave North Korea, the third American to be arrested recently. Tony Kim, who also goes by the Korean name of Kim Sang Duc, was arrested at Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport as he was preparing to depart from North Korea, following a month-long working visit. Earlier this week, Kim Sang Duc was charged with "criminal acts of hostility" against the state.

    The situation near the Korean Peninsula has escalated recently, following several missile and nuclear tests carried out by Pyongyang. The international community, including regional countries, has repeatedly condemned North Korea's military activities. Washington and Pyongyang have traded increasingly strident military threats with each other recently, resulting in calls from US regional allies and China asking for both sides to calm down.

    The imprisonment of two other US citizens — 21-year-old University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after trying to steal a propaganda banner as souvenir, and Christian priest Kim Dong-chul, who is serving 10 years for espionage — have contributed to the increasing strain in relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

    At least 10 US citizens have been arrested and sentenced in North Korea since 2009, according to Yonhap. Many believe that the Americans are held by Pyongyang primarily as diplomatic bargaining chips.


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