American detained by North Korea, says South news report

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who arrived in Rajin Nov. 3 for a five-day visit, has been detained by North Korea, a South Korean news agency reports Thursday.

SEOUL — A U.S. tourist has been detained by North Korean police, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Thursday.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American, was in a group of five tourists who visited Rajin, a city in the northeast of the reclusive state, Yonhap said, citing a report by the newspaper Kookmin Ilbo.

Bae, 44, entered North Korea Nov. 3 for a five-day trip, South Korean media reported. CNN said Bae was part of a Protestant religious group in the United States.

U.S. citizens of Korean descent have previously run into trouble in the North. Robert Park, a missionary, was detained and he says tortured in the North for protesting the country's human rights record.

In 2009 former U.S. President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang to secure the release of two American journalists who had entered North Korea illegally.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and its interests are looked after by the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.

RELATED: North Korean rocket puts satellite into orbit

The North Wednesday sparked calls for sanctions from Washington and others when it fired a long-range rocket that put a satellite into space.

Critics say the North is breaching United Nations Security Council resolutions which prohibit it from activities linked to nuclear development or missile technology.

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