North Korea detains U.S. citizen as tensions rise

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North Korea detained an American citizen on Saturday as he tried to leave the country, though it was not immediately clear what led to his arrest. It comes amid rising tensions between North Korea and the United States.

The Pyongyang University of Science & Technology (PUST) said Sang Duk “Tony” Kim was detained on Saturday as he prepared to board a flight at Pyongyang International Airport after teaching at the university for several weeks.

“We understand that this detention is related to an investigation into matters that are not connected in any way with the work of PUST,” the university said in a statement. “We cannot comment on anything that Mr. Kim may be alleged to have done that is not related to his teaching work and not on the PUST campus.”

Kim is a professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST) in China but had spent several weeks in North Korea to teach at PUST. There was no immediate word from North Korean authorities on the nature of the investigation..

A total of three Americans are now being held in North Korea, but Kim’s arrest comes after weeks of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, fueled by North Korea’s missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program.

American tourist Otto Warmbier is serving 15 years imprisonment with hard labor over the theft of a political propaganda poster in January 2016. And Kim Dong Chul, a Korean-American businessman, is serving 10 years on espionage charges.

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