North Korea claimed on Sunday that it had detained another American citizen under suspicion of “hostile actions” against the state. This would make him the fourth American being held by the country in the midst of increased diplomatic tensions with Washington. According to the North’s KCNA news agency, Kim Hak Song was taken into custody on Saturday.
According to KCNA, Kim Hak Song was detained by a relevant institution of DPRK on May 6, under a law of DPRK on suspension for his hostile acts against it. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This is North Korea’s official title. According to North’s official media, Kim Sang Dok was also detained for hostile acts in April. According to the US State Department, it was aware of the most recent detention.
“The department places security of American citizens as one of its top priorities.” A State Department official stated in an email that if a US citizen is detained in North Korea, they work with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang. He declined to give further details due to privacy concerns. This reported detention occurs as tensions run high on the Korean peninsula, driven by harsh rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang over the North’s pursuit nuclear weapons in retaliation for what it considers a threat to US-instigated War.
Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was established by evangelical Christians and was opened in 2010. The country’s elite are its students. Many of the PUST’s volunteers are evangelical Christians and have a curriculum that covers subjects previously considered taboo in North Korea such as capitalism. This college is a strange fit for a country that has been condemned for its crackdown on freedom of religion.