"A relevant institution of the DPRK detained American citizen Kim Hak Song on May 6 under a law of the DPRK on suspension of his hostile acts against it", KCNA said. Suki Kim, a Korean American author who taught at the university for six months and wrote a book about it, described the faculty members holding private prayer meetings and Bible study sessions.
But assuming the North would not accept the offer, Beijing reportedly told Pyongyang that it would separately provide economic aid and guarantee "North Korea and the United States working toward concluding a peace treaty" in exchange for denuclearization.
Classmate David Kim said that Kim Hak-song came to the United States in the mid-1990s.
This recent detention comes amid rising diplomatic tensions on the Korean peninsula, 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 USA -instigated war. He is the second university instructor to be arrested in the past two months. Cory Gardner of Colorado after Gardner called the country's autocratic leader Kim Jong-un a "whack job" and "a crazed maniac" during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "He went to Pyongyang to devote himself to the development of North Korea's agricultural technology so that the North can be self-sufficient with food", David Kim said.
Tony Kim was an accounting professor at Pyongyang University; he was also teaching other courses.
It also claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency had paid $40,000 to a North Korean national to kill their leader. Lim was sentenced in December 2015 to life in prison for harming the dignity of North Korea's leadership and trying to use religion to destroy its system. "It would send absolutely the wrong message to him, and could embolden him to continue these depravities on his own people if you just sit by quietly and say nothing, and do nothing and sanction nothing". "When a USA citizen is reported to be detained in North Korea, we work with the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang" to try to secure their freedom. It said it could not comment further on his detention since it was not related to his work at the university.
North Korea has threatened to launch a series of retaliations on the US and South Korean intelligence agencies after an alleged assassination attempt on its leader, Kim Jong-Un.
Lee said there has been a lack of discussion about engagement projects such as PUST, the North's only private university, and if they have truly changed the regime's behavior or if such projects have changed those seeking to engage Pyongyang.
The others are Otto Warmbier, serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts he allegedly tried to steal a propaganda banner at his tourist hotel and Kim Dong Chul, serving a 10-year term with hard labor for alleged espionage.