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US man ‘held by North Korea’ after crossing border illegally during tour

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A US man is believed to be in custody in North Korea after he crossed the border without permission during a tour.

His identity has not been officially confirmed but South Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo said he is a US Army solider named Travis King.

It happened as he was visiting the Joint Security Area, part of the demilitarised zone separating South and North Korea.

“A U.S National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the UN Command tweeted.

“We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident,” it added.

South and North Korean forces face each other at the Joint Security Area and it’s often used for diplomatic meetings between the countries.

It is also a popular tourist spot.

In 2017, a North Korean soldier was fired at by colleagues as he made a break for freedom across the JSA border.

He was hit five times but survived and now lives the South.

The US bans its citizens from entering North Korea – the notorious totalitarian state run by Kim Jong Un where millions live in hunger and poverty.

Some Americans have been accused of spying in recent years after entering the country from China, with careful diplomacy needed to get them released.

Tuesday’s incident happened as the US sent a nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea for the first time in decades.

It’s widely seen as a deterrence move following numerous North Korea missile tests over the last year or so.

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