Pyongyang University of Science and Technology: 2 US Employees Detained

The university said in a statement that Kim was carrying out agricultural development work with the school's agricultural farm.

North Korea, which releases official statements through the Korean Central News Agency, has yet to mention anything about Trump's proposal for direct talks.

Kim Hak-song, who was taken into custody Saturday (May 6), taught at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

In the past few weeks two United States citizens working at PUST – North Koreas only privately run University – have been detained.

The Associated Press reports that it is "the only privately funded university in North Korea and is unique for having a large number of foreign staff".

Since the USA and North Korea do not hqve diplomatic relations, when an American citizen is reported to be detained, the US works with the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.

The arrest of Kim Hak-Song means that the North now is holding four United States citizens, with the two countries at loggerheads over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile ambitions.

The four American citizens held in the North also include college student Otto Warmbier and Korean-American pastor Kim Dong-Chul, who received lengthy jail terms for "crimes against the state" and spying, respectively.

Tension between the US and North Korea has escalated in recent weeks, after concerns were raised about North Korea's advancing weapons program.

A group of North Korean officials is meeting with former US officials in Oslo for a round of informal talks known as Track 1.5.

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The reported detention comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula run high, driven by harsh rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons in response to what it says is a threat of US -instigated war.

Kim Sang Dok, the former accounting instructor at the Pyongyang university, was arrested at the Pyongyang International Airport on April 22, the KCNA said.

While it shares the American goal of persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program, China disagrees on tactics, believing that isolating North Korea economically and diplomatically will only force the regime into a corner.

"Professor Kim was a man who would call North Korea as his own country".

Rice said the North appears to be trying to show it's powerful.

The right agenda, he continued, was "not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things".

North Korea is known for its loud and belligerent rhetoric in the face of what it deems to be threats to its leadership, and the reference to ferreting out anyone involved in the plot could suggest not only action overseas but possible purges or crackdowns at home.

Rice also said China is the key to the North Korea problem.

North Korea arrested a U.S. citizen for alleged hostile activities in April at Pyongyang airport.

Similarly, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, wrote in USA Today this week that putting too much pressure on North Korea could backfire.

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