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

  • 'You're celebrating colonization': 4 Indigenous people share why they won't be singing O Canada on July 1

    Canada News CBC News
    For Shane Henry, it used to be about donning the red and white to celebrate Canada on July 1, but this year — on Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation — he's not feeling so patriotic. "Putting a bunch of flags on my skin and jumping in praise saying, 'Oh, look at our great country and look at all that we've accomplished' — that part of it isn't so comfortable with me anymore," explained the University of Saskatchewan PhD student and researcher with the Saskatoon Tribal Council. Source
  • Cholera cases in Yemen now more 200,000

    World News CBC News
    The UN health agency says there are now more than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera in an outbreak in war-torn Yemen, many of them children.State of emergency in Yemen after cholera outbreakCholera cases in Yemen pass 100,000: WHOUNICEF director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan said in a statement Saturday, "we are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world," with an average of 5,000 new cases every day. Source
  • Overturned oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing 148

    World News CBC News
    An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 148 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, an official said. Dozens more were wounded, including about 40 in critical condition, said Mohammad Baqar, an official with local rescue services, adding that the toll was expected to rise. Source
  • Not-so-new Canadian: How welcoming is N.L. for immigrants?

    Canada News CBC News
    On a mid-April Sunday, 18 years ago, I looked down upon St. John's from Signal Hill and wondered to myself, "What have I done?" The snow covering was gone and the landscape was grey, brown, slushy and mucky. Source
  • 'Your son is alive'; California father buries wrong man after coroner’s mistake

    World News Toronto Sun
    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Eleven days after laying his son to rest, Frank J. Kerrigan got a call from a friend. “Your son is alive,” he said. “Bill (Shinker) put my son on the phone,” Kerrigan said. Source
  • Al Capone's song, pocket watch fetch over $100K at auction

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOSTON — Artifacts connected to some of the nation’s most notorious gangsters sold for more than $100,000 at auction Saturday. A diamond pocket watch that belonged to Al Capone and was produced in Chicago in the 1920s, along with a handwritten musical composition he wrote in Alcatraz in the 1930s, were among the items that sold at the “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” auction. Source
  • Venezuelan protesters, security forces clash at air base

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Young protesters broke down a metal fence guarding an air base in Caracas on Saturday before being repelled by security forces firing tear gas in another day of anti-government protests in Venezuela's capital. Source
  • Venezuelan president's opponents lay siege to air base

    World News CBC News
    Young protesters broke down a metal fence guarding an air base in Caracas on Saturday before being repelled by security forces firing tear gas in another day of anti-government protests in Venezuela's capital. Demonstrators threw stones, and some protesters were injured. Source
  • Lots to be proud of on Canada's 150th

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    So this great country of ours Canada is about to turn 150. Well, happy sesquicentennial to us. Although, it was a lot easier to pronounce “centennial” 50 years ago. And what a great year that was. Bobby Gimby sang, “Canada – now we are 20 million. Source
  • Race was a factor in St. Louis black officer mistakenly shot by white cop: lawyer

    World News CTV News
    An off-duty black St. Louis police officer's race factored into him being mistakenly shot by a white officer who didn't recognize him after a shootout with black suspects this week, the wounded officer's lawyer contends. Source