North Korea arrested 85-year old American citizen and war veteran Merrill Newman late last month, it was confirmed yesterday.
Newman, a native of Palo Alto, California, had completed a tour of the country and was on the plane at Sunan Airport when he was arrested by the authorities.
North Korea has not provided any details regarding Newman’s arrest, except that he “broke North Korean law.” Newman had received a visa, and was travelling with a company based in Beijing.
The State Department could not confirm the detention during yesterday’s regular departmental press briefing. According to spokesperson Jen Psaki, “Obviously, we’ve seen the reports [and] the protection of citizens overseas is one of our top priorities, but we don’t have any further info.”
If his detention is confirmed, Newman will be the second American to be detained in the North at the time of writing. Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012, remains in detention despite failing health.