Asia SouthKorea confirms student detained in North was SouthKorean

SouthKorea confirms student detained in North was SouthKorean


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

(AA) – South Korea has confirmed that a U.S. college student detained Saturday trying to cross a river into North Korea is one of its citizens.

An unnamed foreign ministry official told state news agency Yonhap on Sunday that the man was Joo Won-moon, a resident of New Jersey who had a U.S. residence permit.

“We are determining the details through our local diplomatic mission, but we have found out the nationality, address and personal information of the man in his 20s,” the official said.

An unnamed official at the Ministry of Unification said that once the government determines the exact circumstances surrounding Joo’s attempts to get into the North, it will draw up specific measures to handle the situation.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday that a 21-year-old South Korean New York University student had been arrested April 22 while crossing the Amrok River from Dandong, on its northwestern border with China.

The unnamed foreign ministry official told Yonhap that the government had been in contact with Joo’s family and the university but gave no further details.

A spokesperson for the university has confirmed that Joo was a student at its Stern School of Business.

The North is currently detaining four South Koreans, including a missionary who was sentenced to hard labor for life after being found guilty of trying to establish churches and spying.

In 2014, it detained a U.S. citizen for leaving behind a Bible, while another American has been sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp on unknown charges.

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