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North Korea says it has American in custody

By CNN Staff
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 2240 GMT (0640 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea says American man wanted asylum
  • Report comes as President Barack Obama visits South Korea
  • U.S. State Department says it is aware of North Korean report

(CNN) -- North Korea is holding an American man who it claims arrived in the country this month to seek asylum, the nation's state news agency reported Friday.

KCNA identified the man as Miller Matthew Todd, who it says was taken into custody on April 10.

The man, according to KCNA, entered the country on a tourist visa. He tore his tourist visa and shouted that "he would seek asylum" and "came to the DPRK (North Korea) after choosing it as a shelter," KCNA said.

The report came on the day that U.S. President Barack Obama visited South Korea -- a trip that North Korea's foreign ministry condemned as being "aimed to escalate confrontation and bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race."

The United States is aware of the report and has been in touch with Sweden -- which represents American interests in North Korea -- about it, State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Psaki said the United States has "no greater priority" than the welfare and safety of Americans, but had no further information to release about the situation.

Photos: Americans detained abroad

CNN's Shirley Henry contributed to this report.

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