A university privately funded by Christian groups in the West is at the center of growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea following the detention of second American citizen who works there.
Kim Hak Song was detained on Saturday. KCNA, the state-run news agency in North Korea, said he was being held on charges of committing “hostile criminal acts” against the country.
Kim manages a farm run by the agriculture department of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).
Earlier this month, American colleague Kim Sang-duk, who is also known as Tony Kim, was arrested on similar charges. He is a faculty member at PUST.
Few details have been released about why the men are being held, and whether the two cases are connected. Kim Jong Un’s government is also holding two other Americans.
“It’s hard not to relate it to what’s going on in U.S.-North relations right now and we are at a peak,” John Delury, associate professor of Chinese studies at Seoul’s Yonsei University, told NBC News. “If there is some political motivation, it’s that the detentions could be a pretext for President [Donald] Trump to send a high-level envoy to Pyongyang to get them out.”
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SOURCE: NBC News, Janis Mackey Frayer