North Korea says US student has been arrested for ‘hostile acts’ toward nation

In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gestures as he watches a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, it has conducted a hydrogen bomb test. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced Friday the arrest of a U.S. university student for what it called a “hostile act” orchestrated by the American government to undermine the authoritarian nation.

In language that mirrors past North Korean claims of outside conspiracies, Pyongyang’s state media said the University of Virginia student entered the country under the guise of a tourist and plotted to destroy North Korean unity with “the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation.”

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a short report that the student, whom it identified as Warmbier Otto Frederick, was “arrested while perpetrating a hostile act,” but didn’t say when he was detained or explain the nature of the act. North Korea has sometimes listed English-language surnames first, in the Korean style. The University of Virginia’s online student directory lists someone named Otto Frederick Warmbier as an undergraduate commerce student.

 A China-based tour company specializing in travel to North Korea, Young Pioneer Tours, confirmed that one of its customers, identified only as “Otto,” had been detained in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, but provided no other details. Social media accounts for Warmbier show interests in finance, travel and rap music; he was on the University of Virginia’s dean’s list and attended high school in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

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