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Worldcrunch

North Korea Confirms Arrest Of U.S. Citizen

Also signs of additional facilities that could produce weapons-grade uranium.

KCNA (North Korea), AP, VOICE OF AMERICA (USA)

Worldcrunch

PYONYANG – North Korean state media has confirmed that a U.S. citizen has been arrested after entering the reclusive Communist country as a tourist.

In a short dispatch, The Korean Central News Agency said the man, identified as Bae Jun Ho, was detained on Nov. 3 after confessing to unspecified crimes against the state. Although it did not elaborate, North Korea’s state news agency said the crimes were “proven through evidence," adding that "Legal actions are being taken against Bae in line with the criminal procedure law."

The arrest was first reported earlier this month by the South Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo, which had identified the detainee as a 44-year-old Korean-American tour operator, according to AP.

Meanwhile, South Korea's defense ministry has revealed that intelligence satellites have detected additional facilities in North Korea that the defense ministry believes could be used to produce weapons-grade uranium, Voice Of America reports.

[Photo: petersnoopy/photomontage]

The news comes hardly as a surprise for analysts and nuclear watchdogs. Uranium enrichment gives North Korea an alternative to its plutonium-based program to make nuclear bombs -- the country is already believed to have 40 kilograms of plutonium, enough for several weapons.

The U.N. Security Council is expected soon to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for conducting a Dec. 12 launch of a three-stage rocket which deployed, for the first time, an object into orbit.

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