"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea … The Department is urgently seeking clarification. Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment", the department said in a statement, as quoted by the local 9News outlet.
The outlet added that the statement concerned Alek Sigley, the only Australian student believed to be living in the Asian country.
According to media reports, Sigley, 29, is a fluent Korean speaker and is studying Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang.
The ABC news outlet reported that the Australian national’s friends reported to the authorities that he was missing earlier this week.
Notably, last week, Sigley spoke with Sputnik about North Korean literature and cuisine. He has also communicated with The Guardian, alongside other western media outlet.
Sigley said that he planned to go from Pyongyang to Tokyo on 18 July.
A Sputnik correspondent failed to reach Sigley by phone after the reports about his detention emerged.