North Korea arrests U.S. university student for alleged 'hostile' acts

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North Korea announced Friday the arrest of a U.S. university student for what it said was a "hostile act" orchestrated by the American government to undermine the authoritarian nation.

See Full Article

In language that mirrors past North Korean claims of outside conspiracies, North Korean state media said the University of Virginia student entered the country under the guise of a tourist and plotted to destroy North Korean unity with "the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation."

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a short report that the student, whom it identified as Warmbier Otto Frederick, was "arrested while perpetrating a hostile act," but didn't say when he was detained or explain the nature of the act. North Korea has sometimes listed English-language surnames first, in the Korean style. The University of Virginia's online student directory lists someone named Otto Frederick Warmbier as an undergraduate commerce student.

A China-based tour company specializing in travel to North Korea, Young Pioneer Tours, confirmed that one of its customers, identified only as "Otto," had been detained in Pyongyang, the North's capital, but provided no other details.

North Korea's announcement comes amid a diplomatic push by Washington, Seoul and their allies to slap Pyongyang with tough sanctions for its recent nuclear test. In the past, North Korea has occasionally announced the arrests of foreign detainees in times of tension with the outside world in an apparent attempt to wrest concessions or diplomatic manoeuvring room.

North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending "spies" to overthrow its government to enable the U.S.-backed South Korean government to control the entire Korean Peninsula. Some foreigners previously arrested have read statements of guilt that they later said were coerced.

North Korea has previously released or deported U.S. detainees after high-profile Americans visited the country. In late 2014, for instance, North Korea released two Americans after a secret mission to the North by James Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official. Critics say such trips have provided diplomatic credibility to the North.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

North Korea is holding at least three South Koreans and one Canadian.

Last month, North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state. The offences he was charged with included harming the dignity of the North's leadership and trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, according to the North's state media.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Canada seeks to get more women into UN peacekeeping operations

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada is looking at ways to help other countries boost the number of female peacekeepers, despite having only a handful of Canadian women in blue helmets and berets. Global Affairs Canada is hosting a session today with representatives from several countries and the United Nations to brainstorm ways to get more female peacekeepers deployed. Source
  • Alberta spent $2.7B in failed bid to cut classroom sizes: auditor

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta's auditor general says the province has spent $2.7 billion over the last 14 years in a failed attempt to reduce classroom sizes. Merwan Saher says in his latest report that the Education Department has not effectively overseen and directed the program. Source
  • Yet again, U.S. debates if teachers should carry guns in school

    World News CTV News
    Utah teacher Kasey Hansen says carrying a concealed weapon in school is "more of a solution" than hiding in a corner and waiting if an armed intruder enters the classroom. But Texas teacher Tara Bordeaux worries that she lacks "the instincts" of a law enforcement officer and can't easily see herself carrying a gun in class. Source
  • Former Nova Scotia teacher who sexually abused students loses appeal

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's highest court has upheld the convictions of a former teacher who sexually abused two teenage students. Amy Hood of Stellarton, N.S., was found guilty in April 2016 of sexual touching, sexual exploitation and luring minors for a sexual purpose. Source
  • Suspect in gas station break and enter found hiding in the ceiling

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta man was arrested early Monday morning after an alleged break and enter at a gas station. The catch? He was found hiding in the ceiling. RCMP were originally called to a gas station in the town of Penhold, an hour south of Edmonton, around 2 a.m. Source
  • B.C. father facing murder charges in deaths of daughters appears in court

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA - A man facing second-degree murder charges in the deaths of his two daughters made a brief court appearance by video on Thursday in Victoria. Andrew Berry did not speak during the appearance. Source
  • Saskatchewan MP Weir unaware of any harassment allegations as deadline for complaints passes

    Canada News CBC News
    Federal NDP MP Erin Weir says he remains in the dark about any allegations of harassment against him, despite the party's deadline for complaints having come and gone. The Saskatchewan MP was temporarily suspended from his duties earlier this month after caucus colleague Christine Moore alleged that Weir had engaged in harassing behaviour towards women, including party staff members. Source
  • Stymied by regulators, Airbnb looks to luxury vacations, hotels for growth

    World News CBC News
    Airbnb is rolling out new services aimed at attracting travellers looking for luxury accommodations and traditional hotels, the latest move to contend with sputtering growth in its original home-renting business. The company on Thursday will unveil a new product that bundles Airbnb's poshest properties with high-end travel services, as well as a separate category of homes guaranteed to be clean and comfortable. Source
  • Ticketed for paying wrong parking meter, Quebec woman wins court fight to overturn fine

    Canada News CBC News
    A Saint-Jérôme, Que., woman who says she made an error in good faith when paying for her parking in the wrong meter has successfully contested her ticket — a ruling at least one legal expert believes could set an important new precedent. Source
  • Union says strong 'no confidence' vote in Toronto police chief

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An overwhelming majority of Toronto police union members who voted over the past week in a symbolic poll expressed a lack of confidence in the city's chief of police -- although fewer than half took part in the online survey. Source