North Korea arrests US student for 'hostile attack' against the regime

The state-run KCNA news agency said the detainee had an 'aim to destroy the country's unity'

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The Independent Online

North Korea has said it has arrested a student from the United States on charges of committing a “hostile attack” against the regime, according to reports.

The North's state-run KCNA news agency identified the detainee as Warmbier Otto Frederick from the University of Virginia. The state has sometimes listed English-language surnames first.

It said he entered North Korea as a tourist and was "was caught committing a hostile act against the state," which it said was "tolerated and manipulated by the U.S. government". An official at the US embassy in Seoul, the South Korean capital, said it was aware of the reported arrest.

The Korean-language KCNA report said the detainee was a Virginia university student and had entered the country with an "aim to destroy the country's unity". It did not elaborate.

There are now three westerns citizens known to be held by the isolated state.

Earlier this month a man claiming to be an American citizen told CNN that he was being held by Kim Jong-un’s regime on charges of spying for South Korea. The man, identified as Kim Dong-chul, was escorted to a hotel the capital Pyongyang to be interviewed by a CNN reporter.

The US State Department, at the time, said it would not confirm the CNN report and declined to discuss the issue further or confirm whether the US was consulting Sweden – which handles US consular issues with the North Korea as there are no diplomatic relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Additional reporting by wires