AN AMERICAN man has been arrested after he tried to cross into North Korea, in what authorities believe was an attempt to defect to Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The 58-year-old American, identified as only as A” and reportedly from the US state of Louisiana, was arrested by South Korean police at midnight on Monday (9.55am local time) after he crossed over the Civilian Control Line (CCL) near the North Korean border.
The Louisiana resident reportedly did not have a permit which led authorities believe to he was crossing for “political purposes”.
The move is considered highly unusual as even defectors from the North rarely cross directly over the border – usually crossing into China first before heading to Seoul – and South Korea’s National Intelligence, army and police have launched a joint investigation.
The US citizen is said to have arrived in Seoul three days prior and was spotted crossing the CCL by a villager in in the county’s Baekhak Ward.
The CCL is drawn just below the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) which divides South Korea from its rogue northern neighbor.
The US embassy in Seoul said it was aware of the report and they were looking into it,
An official said: “If it is determined that a US citizen has been detained, the US embassy will provide appropriate consular services.”
The news comes as a North Korean soldier defected by running across the DMZ on Monday.