North Korean officials have arrested an American citizen, though they have not yet stated what crime the man commit.
A Reuters report says the man, Kenneth Bae, who is Korean-American, traveled to North Korea last month; it is unclear when exactly he was arrested. It has been reported Bae was traveling with a tour group, either as the group's operator or as a traveler, that helps foreign tourists and investors get into the reclusive nation.
State-run KCNA news agency reported: "In the process of investigation, evidence proving that he committed a crime against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] was revealed. He admitted his crime." To editorialize slightly, that North Korea calls itself a "democratic people's republic" is and always has been a freaking joke.
While Bae's alleged crime is still unclear, South Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo claims he was carrying a computer hard drive with footage of North Korea executing "defectors and dissidents" on it. Were that to get out, it would certainly be embarrassing for the country; though the notion that North Korea perpetrates extreme violence against those who speak out against it is hardly new. Bae could be sentenced to five to 10 years of hard labor for "hostile acts against the state."
The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, and the Swedish embassy acts on the U.S.' behalf in the country. Officials from the Swedish embassy have reportedly met with Bae.
Americans have been arrested in North Korea before. Most notably Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling in 2009. Eventually Bill Clinton traveled to the country in order to ensure their release.
However, at this time relations between the U.S. and North Korea are especially strained, after North Korea launched something into orbit on Dec. 12. A move both the U.S. and the U.N. have condemned.
[Image via AP]