The North Korean government is preparing to indict an American man it has detained on unspecified charges, saying the man has already “admitted his crime,” the state news agency reported on Thursday.
In Seoul, meanwhile, a South Korean news agency, Yonhap, citing sources in the United States that it did not name, said the man was Jun Young-su, a Korean-American businessman in his 60s from Orange County, Calif. Yonhap said Mr. Jun was arrested last November in connection with illegal religious activities in the North. Mr. Jun’s name was also given in the North Korean state agency’s Korean-language dispatches, though not in its reports in English; the other details in the Yonhap report could not immediately be confirmed.
A State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, confirmed on Tuesday that an American was being held by the North, but he and other United States officials declined to name the detainee and offered no personal details, citing privacy rules.
Former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang in 2009 to gain the release of two American television journalists who had been detained after crossing into North Korea from China. The journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who were each sentenced to 12 years in prison, admitted that they had ventured over the border but insisted that they had already returned to the Chinese side when North Korean border guards apprehended them and dragged them back into North Korea.
Special amnesty again was granted by Mr. Kim, although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was adamant that Mr. Clinton had not apologized to Mr. Kim to win the women’s release.