North Korea says it is holding an American tourist

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North Korea says it is holding an American tourist
A conservative anti-North Korean activist holds a placard calling for the release of detained US missionary Kenneth Bae following a protest against the North Korean regime, in Seoul on Febraury 16, 2014. Rare talks between the rival Koreas ended on an even rarer note of agreement February 14, allowing an under-threat reunion for divided families to go ahead and fuelling hopes of further constructive engagement. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
Former US basketball player Dennis Rodman shows pictures of him reportedly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to media as he arrives at Beijing International Airport on September 7, 2013. Rodman returned to China from Pyongyang on September 7 after a five-day trip when he met Kim Jong-Un, but without jailed American Kenneth Bae. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Former US basketball player Dennis Rodman (L) shows pictures of him reportedly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to media as he arrives at Beijing International Airport on September 7, 2013. Rodman returned to China from Pyongyang on September 7 after a five-day trip when he met Kim Jong-Un, but without jailed American Kenneth Bae. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Passersby watch a local television broadcast in Seoul on May 2, 2013 showing a report and picture of Kenneth Bae (R), a Korean-American tour operator detained in North Korea, against the background of a North Korean flag painted on the wall of a building in Pyongyang. North Korea said on May 2 it had sentenced a Korean-American tour operator to 15 years' hard labour for 'hostile acts', stoking tensions with the United States, which had pleaded for his release. AFP PHOTO / KIM JAE-HWAN (Photo credit should read KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)
American missionary Kenneth Bae speaks to reporters at Pyongyang Friendship Hospital in Pyongyang Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. Bae, 45, who has been jailed in North Korea for more than a year, appealed for the U.S. to do its best to secure his release. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
A notice of a prayer vigil for for Kenneth Bae, sits next to a letter from Bae, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, at the home of Kenneth's mother in Lynnwood, Wash. Bae, an American tour operator and Christian missionary, has been detained in North Korea since being arrested in November, 2012, and Chung and her family are renewing calls for his release as concerns about his health increase. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Terri Chung holds a notice of a prayer vigil for her brother, Kenneth Bae, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Lynnwood, Wash. Bae, an American tour operator and Christian missionary, has been detained in North Korea since being arrested in November, 2012, and Chung and her family are renewing calls for his release as concerns about his health increase. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Korean War veteran Merrill Newman (L), accompanied by his wife Lee (C) and son Jeff, speaks to the press after arriving at San Francisco International Airport on December 7, 2013 following his release from detention in North Korea. Pyongyang deported Newman after detaining him for two months for 'hostile acts' against the communist country. Newman was deported 'from a humanitarian viewpoint', according to the official Korean Central News Agency, citing his 'sincere repentance' as well as his age and health condition. AFP PHOTO / SUSANA BATES (Photo credit should read SUSANA BATES/AFP/Getty Images)
Korean War veteran Merrill Newman (C-L), 85, walks with his wife Lee (C-R) and son Jeff (R) after arriving at San Francisco International Airport on December 7, 2013 following his release from detention in North Korea. Pyongyang deported Newman after detaining him for two months for 'hostile acts' against the communist country. Newman was deported 'from a humanitarian viewpoint', according to the official Korean Central News Agency, citing his 'sincere repentance' as well as his age and health condition. AFP PHOTO / SUSANA BATES (Photo credit should read SUSANA BATES/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 photo from a video shot by a North Korean TV crew employed locally by AP Television News, Matthew Miller, an American man recently sentenced by North Korea to six years of hard labor, speaks during an interview in Pyongyang, North Korea. Under close guard and with only enough time to respond to one question, Miller spoke briefly to an Associated Press Television News journalist at a Pyongyang hotel, where he had been brought to make a phone call to his family. It was his first appearance since he was convicted Sept. 14 of entering the country illegally to commit espionage. (AP Photo/APTN)
CORRECTS SOURCE TO APTN - This image taken from video shows Matthew Miller in North Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. The American man recently sentenced by North Korea to six years of hard labor says he is digging in fields eight hours a day and being kept in isolation, but that so far his health isn't deteriorating. Under close guard and with only enough time to respond to one question, 24-year-old Matthew Miller spoke briefly to an Associated Press Television News journalist at a Pyongyang hotel, where he had been brought to make a phone call to his family. (AP Photo/APTN)
CORRECTS SOURCE TO APTN - This image taken from video shows Matthew Miller in North Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. The American man recently sentenced by North Korea to six years of hard labor says he is digging in fields eight hours a day and being kept in isolation, but that so far his health isn't deteriorating. Under close guard and with only enough time to respond to one question, 24-year-old Matthew Miller spoke briefly to an Associated Press Television News journalist at a Pyongyang hotel, where he had been brought to make a phone call to his family. (AP Photo/APTN)
Matthew Miller, a U.S. citizen, sits on the dock at the Supreme Court during his trial in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. North Korea's Supreme Court on Sunday sentenced Miller to six years of hard labor for entering the country illegally and trying to commit espionage. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Handcuffed Matthew Miller, a U.S. citizen, leaves after his trial at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. North Korea's Supreme Court on Sunday sentenced Miller to six years of hard labor for entering the country illegally and trying to commit espionage. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
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BY HYUNG-JIN KIM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea said Friday it has detained an American tourist for committing an unspecified crime, the third U.S. citizen being held there.

The Korean Central News Agency said authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit. It did not give details.

"American citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the DPRK as a tourist on April 29 and acted in violation of the DPRK law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay," KCNA reported, referring to the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The U.S. State Department, which last month warned Americans against traveling with private tour operators to North Korea, said it was aware of the reported detainment but did not confirm it.

"There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad. We have no additional information to share at this time," said a department official who was not able to be quoted by name because of department policy.

Two other Americans are being held in North Korea.

A 24-year-old man was detained in April for alleged improper behavior while entering the country. The tourist agency he traveled with identified him as Matthew Miller. North Korea 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."

North Korea also 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 says were hostile acts against the state.

North Korea has been pushing to promote tourism as part of efforts to earn badly needed foreign currency, but the country is also extremely sensitive about how visitors act while in the country.

Friday's announcement came as tension on the Korean Peninsula remains high with North Korea keeping up rhetoric against the U.S. and South Korea following its series of missile and rocket launches earlier this year. The North's state media have also unleashed racist and sexist slurs against U.S. and South Korean leaders.

The peninsula is still in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from North Korea.

The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, but Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang, oversees consular issues for the United States there. Unless a detainee signs a privacy waiver, the State Department cannot give details about the case.

In March, North Korea deported an Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity in the country after he apologized for anti-state religious acts and requested forgiveness.

In December, North Korea released 85-year-old American veteran of the Korean War, Merrill Newman, who was held for several weeks after traveling to North Korea as a tourist. Newman was freed after he gave a videotaped confession in which he apologized for killing North Koreans during the war. Newman later said the confession was given involuntarily and under duress.

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