Updated April. 28, 2014 07:35
The U.S. government said that it was in touch with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang on Friday (local time) regarding the claim that North Korea is holding an American tourist.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that the U.S. was aware of reports that an American was detained in North Korea and it was in touch with the embassy of Sweden about these reports. The embassy of Sweden represents American interests in North Korea on issues that are related to American citizens in North Korea as the U.S. has no diplomatic relationship with the North. According to Pyongyang on Friday, Miller Matthew Todd, a 24-year-old American tourist, has been taken into custody since April 10. Psaki said, There is no greater priority to us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens.
Regarding Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen who has been imprisoned by North Korea since November 2012, Psaki said that the proposal of sending Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issue, to the North is still valid, adding that Swedish diplomats have visited Bae 11 times since his arrest and the latest one was on April 18. She also said, We remain deeply concerned about his health. We continue to urge North Korean authorities to grant Mr. Bae a special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds.