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North Korea says US citizen arrested

Associated Press / April 14, 2011

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SEOUL — North Korea confirmed yesterday that it has arrested an American for committing an unspecified crime and is preparing to indict him.

The man, identified by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency as Jun Young Su, is the latest US citizen to be detained in the reclusive communist state in recent years. Freeing them has often required high-profile negotiations.

North Korea informed Washington about the arrest and said Jun is being given necessary humanitarian support, including consular contact with Swedish Embassy officials in Pyongyang.

Earlier this week, the US State Department called for North Korea to release one of its citizens and said Swedish officials had visited the American. But it gave no further details.

The United States — which fought on South Korea’s side during the 1950-53 Korean War — does not have diplomatic staff inside North Korea, and Sweden handles Washington’s interests there.

In August, Jimmy Carter, the former president, brought home Aijalon Gomes, who had been sentenced to eight years of hard labor for crossing into the North from China. He was detained for seven months in all.

In 2009, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested for trespassing in North Korea and released only after Bill Clinton went to Pyongyang to ask for their freedom.

Carter already has plans to travel to Pyongyang again, possibly this month, to revive international talks on the North’s nuclear program.