North Korea continues to issue threats against the U.S., this time directing its warning to American citizens the rogue state has arrested and detained for their supposed crimes against the North Korean government. North Korea said on Thursday that it has the sovereign right to "ruthlessly punish" the American citizens in detention.
The state news agency KCNA reported that the crimes of Americans being held in North Korea "will soon be revealed". The North Korean government also slammed U.S. media for describing the arrests of American citizens as a bargaining ploy by the barbaric state. North Korea said such reports by the American media are being made out of "pure ignorance."
The isolated East Asian country has detained another American citizen last Saturday bringing to four the number of Americans under detention in North Korea. Last week's detainee was identified as Kim Hak Song who before his arrest was working with Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. State officials said he was arrested and held on suspicion of " hostile acts". KCNA reported that a relevant institution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) has the American citizen in its custody.
The third U.S. citizen to be detained was Kim Sang Dok who is also associated with the same university, also due to suspicion of "hostile acts" against the communist state.
The U.S. State Department said it is aware that a few American citizens have been detained in North Korea, and gave assurances that the security of American citizens remains a top priority for the department. It also clarified that each time a U.S. citizen is detained in North Korea, the U.S. government works with the Swedish embassy based in Pyongyang in addressing matters and responding to the needs of its citizens.
The North Korean regime did not specify what constitutes ruthless punishment and how exactly they plan to carry it out. The U.S. government also did not indicate what particular efforts it is taking to save its detained four citizens from any harm or danger the North Korean state might inflict on the four Americans.
Tensions have been running high the past months due to the rogue state's nuclear ambitions, something the U.S. disapproves of in part for the sake of its allies South Korea and Japan who might be affected by North Korea's nuclear arms expansion.