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North Korea says it is holding an American tourist


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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
pjgblg June 06 2014 at 3:41 PM

Code name for American tourist going to N. Korea: "Idiot"

Flag Reply +53 rate up
2 replies
visconti24 pjgblg June 06 2014 at 9:21 PM

Why, oh why insist on going to a place where one is not welcome?

Flag Reply +14 rate up
3 replies
englishfleck pjgblg June 06 2014 at 9:28 PM

I agree 100% . Don't go to Korea , Iran , Iraq , Afghanistan , Mexico and a few other places .

Flag Reply +8 rate up
4 replies
macsandcats June 06 2014 at 3:40 PM

why can't we just trade dennis rodman for them

Flag Reply +41 rate up
5 replies
steblawar June 06 2014 at 4:33 PM

What idiot would actually think they could "tour" North Korea? North Koreans can't even travel freely in North Korea, let alone anyone else.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
3 replies
pat June 06 2014 at 3:45 PM

On second thought, let's trade Michelle O. for this tourist?????

Flag Reply +21 rate up
16 replies
evanali June 06 2014 at 4:43 PM

That was quick!

So...how many gitmo prisoners do they want Omama to release?

LOL

Flag Reply +20 rate up
3 replies
cre8vtv June 06 2014 at 3:35 PM

Let me guess, the poor tourist didn't buy a Kim J bobble head at the tourist market.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
1 reply
baldbiker2 cre8vtv June 07 2014 at 1:56 AM

He refused to exit through the gift shop.......

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Nuckle Dragger June 06 2014 at 4:39 PM

You see what happens went you start giving Terrorists their freedom for the "release" of a POW(my butt)? Now North Korea has a American Hostage for sale.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
5 replies
spikecogan June 06 2014 at 3:40 PM

N Korea must want something....can't we drop a load of bug spray on them ?

Flag Reply +10 rate up
3 replies
Mike June 06 2014 at 4:21 PM

Why got there? S Korea is supposed to be a fun place...N.Korea is a hell hole

Flag Reply +6 rate up
JohnnYuma June 06 2014 at 7:08 PM

New name for North Korean constipated leaders, ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?.".HUNG CHOW"

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
luna.campbell JohnnYuma June 07 2014 at 2:06 AM

i think you just insulted the Chinese. might want to stick with plays on words that aren't Chinese. not all countries in the east speak the same languages. That one sounds more like Chinese and specifically what i got on some kids, as a child, for calling some kid who was partially Asian when i was a little girl so... really, please be more intelligent with your insults if you must toss them at people, please... at least don't insult the country you come from and other countries as well. lets just agree, north Korea's government is stick up ass, controlling ********. hell.... i will go a step further and say it is like my ex husband, i want to be within ten feet of either my ex husband or north Korea. I would touch neither with a ten foot pole. I have no desire to be 'ruled' and controlled. tourists are generally on vacations, times to relax, not worry if you will be arrested for not looking at something, or looking at something, or not buying something, or buying something... etc

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
windanseasalvage luna.campbell June 07 2014 at 5:42 AM

RELAX

Flag +1 rate up
godgsc luna.campbell June 07 2014 at 10:45 AM

so only you can insult somebody? that explains why he is your ex husband. maybe if we heard from him we would hear something different . could be you were supposed to touch him?

Flag +1 rate up
luna.campbell JohnnYuma June 07 2014 at 2:09 AM

uneducated insults, insult not only yourself but where you come from. i really don't get how 'hung chow' is supposed to insult them. it can be a persons name, or mean 'constipated' among other things depending on language or what context it is used in(also depending on language). it is also a restaurant in new york. perhaps it would serve as an insult in kindergarten, however unless you are a kindergarten i would ask that you think up more intelligent insults, if you must throw said insults.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
dudian123 luna.campbell June 07 2014 at 10:00 AM

it's called a play on words. It is indeed clever and not uneducated because, like you said, it can be used as a person's name or as constipated, or perhaps the insult was so clever you resorted to an immature attack in response. You should know what a play on word is because words have various meanings in China and North Korea. That's why it's clever and your insult is stupid.

Flag +1 rate up
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