Report: U.S. citizen faces trial in North Korea

American faces death penalty in N. Korea

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    American faces death penalty in N. Korea

American faces death penalty in N. Korea 02:29

Story highlights

  • The U.S. says it is working closely with Swedish officials on the case
  • Pae Jun Ho entered North Korea in November
  • State media: He committed an unspecified crime against the country
  • "He will soon be taken to the Supreme Court," a state news agency says

North Korea plans to begin a trial against a U.S. citizen detained there last year, state media said Saturday, complicating tense relations between the two nations.

Pae Jun Ho entered North Korea as a tourist on November 3, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

After his detention, evidence revealed he had committed an unspecified crime against the country, the news agency said. The agency said he confessed to the alleged offense, but did not say what it was.

"He will soon be taken to the Supreme Court of the DPRK to face judgment," the news agency said, using the official name of the country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea and the United States do not have diplomatic relations. Consular officials from the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which looks after U.S. interests in North Korea, visited Pae on Friday.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States is working closely with Swedish embassy officials.

"Welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is a critical priority of the Department of State," Psaki said.

The developments come amid tense relations between North Korea and two countries it is frequently at odds with, South Korea and the United States. In recent weeks, the North has intensified threats against its neighbor and the United States.