North Korea today confirmed the arrest of a US citizen who was lecturing in Pyongyang – the third American held in the country amid growing tensions with Washington. Kim Sang-Duk, or Tony Kim, was detained at the capital’s airport on April 22, as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks at an elite university. In the North’s first confirmation of the professor’s detention, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said he had been held for “committing criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn the DPRK”, using the country’s official name.
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It added that Kim was “under detention by a relevant law enforcement body which is conducting detailed investigation into his crimes”. The confirmation of Kim’s detention comes as Pyongyang issues increasingly belligerent rhetoric in a tense stand off with the administration of new US President Donald Trump.
Kim had been teaching accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), which said last month that the professor had been held. The school – founded by evangelical Christians from overseas and opened in 2010 – is known to have a number of American faculty members.