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US: Report of new detainee in N. Korea may be true

US: Report of new detainee in N. Korea may be true

The State Department said Thursday it believes it is "entirely possible" that another American has been detained in North Korea for allegedly entering the country illegally from China.
Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. officials have been unable to confirm a report by the North's government-run Korean Central News Agency that the unidentified man was arrested Monday and is under investigation.
"We do not have specific confirmation, but we're taking this seriously," Crowley said. "Right now we're operating on the assumption that it's entirely possible that we have a second American citizen detained in North Korea, in addition to Robert Park."
North Korea said in late December that it was holding a U.S. citizen for illegally entering through the North Korea-China border. It did not identify the man, but Crowley said the man is Robert Park, an American missionary. He said the U.S. has requested consular access to Park through the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which represents U.S. interests there; Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
If the report of a second American being detained is confirmed, the U.S. will seek similar access to him or her, Crowley said.
The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang referred inquiries about the latest reported detention to the State Department.
South Korea's Unification Ministry and Foreign Ministry said they had no information about the second detainee. The North Korean dispatch did not say exactly where the American entered the country, and police officials in the Chinese city of Dandong, at the border's western end, said they had not heard of the case.


Updated : 2021-07-26 07:30 GMT+08:00