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

  • Trump-McConnell feud threatens Republican agenda

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump can't enact his agenda without Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell may not have a majority to lead without Trump's help. It's simple, and still so complicated. The strangest bedfellows in Washington are locked in an increasingly public and personal feud that defies conventional wisdom. Source
  • Up to 2,300 border crossers entering Quebec are under 18: minister

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Up to one-third of the 7,000 people who have crossed illegally into Quebec from the U.S. in the last six weeks are children, the province's immigration minister said Wednesday. Quebec's education department is considering running programs for the kids -- including teaching classes -- inside the temporary shelters set up to house refugee applicants in the Montreal area, said Kathleen Weil. Source
  • More than 90 'persons of interest' in B.C. girl's death: Police

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    BURNABY, B.C. — Police say they have identified more than 90 “persons of interest” in their homicide investigation into the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in a suburban Vancouver park last month. Marrisa Shen’s body was discovered in some brush at Central Park in Burnaby on July 19 and police say they have narrowed a timeline and provided investigators with her whereabouts on the previous day. Source
  • Kelly seeks to restore White House order ahead of key fights

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- In his first month on the job, White House chief of staff John Kelly has made significant progress toward imposing discipline on a chaotic operation, even as it's clear he still struggles to have the same effect on the president himself. Source
  • More than 63,000 customers blacked out by storms in Quebec

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — More than 63,000 Hydro-Quebec customers were without electricity early Wednesday after severe thunderstorms ripped through southern Quebec, Montreal and the Laurentian region north of the city. Most of the outages were in the Montreal area affecting more than 42,000 homes and businesses, with another 8,000 blackouts reported in the Laurentians and a further 7,500 in communities south of Montreal. Source
  • 1-armed man arrested with machete, clown mask calls it prank

    World News CTV News
    BIDDEFORD, Maine -- A one-armed Maine man accused of startling neighbours by going for a stroll wearing a clown mask and brandishing a machete says it was supposed to be a prank. Thirty-one-year-old Hollis resident Corey Berry pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal threatening and weapons charges. Source
  • Military police charge recruit with sexual assault, second case this month

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A military recruit has been charged with sexual assault in relation to a series of alleged incidents at a Quebec training camp last fall, the second such case in as many weeks. Military police say the most recent charges relate to the alleged assault of three people undergoing basic training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in November. Source
  • Police identify 90 persons of interest in death of B.C. teen Marrisa Shen

    Canada News CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Police say they have identified more than 90 "persons of interest" in their homicide investigation into the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in a suburban Vancouver park last month. Source
  • Woman claims stranger's ashes in father's urn, sues for $2.5M

    World News Toronto Sun
    PORTLAND, Ore. — A woman is suing an Oregon cremation company for $2.5 million, claiming it gave her the remains of a stranger instead of her deceased father. Kimberly Grecco, 53, discovered the remains were her not her father’s as she prepared to spread the ashes on Father’s Day last year, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday. Source
  • Bans on campfires, backcountry travel lifted in B.C. as wildfire risk drops

    Canada News CTV News
    WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. -- Restrictions on travel to British Columbia's backcountry and campfires are slowly being lifted in some parts of the province as improved conditions have lowered the wildfire risk. Campfires are once again allowed in most areas of the Prince George and northwest fire centres while officials from the BC Wildfire Service say a ban prohibiting access to the backcountry in the Cariboo region will also be rescinded by the end of the day. Source