North Korea Detains American Student

State media: U.S. citizen arrested for ‘hostile act’

Kim Il Sung Square in the center of Pyongyang appears as usual on Jan. 8, 2015, believed to be the 32nd birthday of leader Kim Jong Un
Kim Il Sung Square in the center of Pyongyang / AP

North Korea arrested an American college student this month, state media reports said Friday.

CNN reported that the arrest has been confirmed by the China-based company with which Otto Frederick Warmbier, the U.S. student, was traveling. The tour company, Young Pioneer Tours, said that Warmbier was arrested in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on January 2.

According to North Korean state media reports, Warmbier was detained after allegedly carrying out a "a hostile act against the DPRK," or the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. State media said that Warmbier came into North Korea "for the purpose of bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government."

Warmbier reportedly entered the country using a tourist visa.

The student’s family has been notified of the arrest and is working with the State Department, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swedish Embassy to address the situation, the tour company said in a statement on its website.

The Swedish Embassy provides limited consular services to Americans traveling in North Korea who become sick, injured, or are arrested, as the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Virginia, reported that Warmbier is a third-year commerce student there and is enrolled in the Echols scholars program. A spokesman for UVA said that the university "has been in touch with Otto Warmbier’s family and will have no additional comment at this time."