BEIRUT

World

NKorea detains American tourist

U.S. President Barack Obama waves upon his arrival at Osan Air Base April 25, 2014. (REUTERS/Lim Heon-jung/Yonhap)

PYONGYANG, North Korea: North Korea has detained a 24-year-old American man for improper behavior while he was being processed to enter the country as a tourist, state media reported Saturday.

The official Korean Central News Agency identified the man as Miller Matthew Todd - possibly putting his surname first - and said he entered the country on April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum. The brief report said he chose the North "as a shelter."

It said he was detained for "gross violation" of North Korea's legal order and was being investigated. It gave no further details.

A large number of foreign tourists were in North Korea in mid-April to see events held for the anniversary of national founder Kim Il Sung's April 15 birthday. One of the main events, the annual Pyongyang marathon, was opened to foreign amateur runners for the first time this year and drew well over 100 tourists.

North Korea has been trying to boost tourism recently to generate income. Earlier this year, it opened a new luxury ski resort and it is planning to develop special zones for tourism, mostly from China, across the country.

But the North also continues to be highly sensitive about the activities and conduct of foreigners who are allowed in.

North Korea has been holding a Korean-American missionary, Kenneth Bae, since November 2012. Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the North has claimed were hostile acts against the state. In March, it deported an Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity in the country after he apologized for anti-state religious acts and requested forgiveness.

The announcement Saturday came as President Barack Obama was visiting rival South Korea. Obama warned North Korea that it would face tougher sanctions if it follows through with threats to conduct a fourth nuclear test.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

North Korea has detained a 24-year-old American man for improper behavior while he was being processed to enter the country as a tourist, state media reported Saturday.

A large number of foreign tourists were in North Korea in mid-April to see events held for the anniversary of national founder Kim Il Sung's April 15 birthday. One of the main events, the annual Pyongyang marathon, was opened to foreign amateur runners for the first time this year and drew well over 100 tourists.

Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the North has claimed were hostile acts against the state.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here