South Korean studying in U.S. reportedly arrested in North Korea

Story highlights

  • A New York University Student, originally from South Korea, has been detained in North Korea
  • The North Korean Central News Agency said he was detained for crossing into North Korea illegally
  • NYU says the student is not enrolled this semester and the school is unaware of his travels

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)A South Korean who lives in New Jersey was arrested last week for crossing into North Korea illegally, the North Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday.

Won-moon Joo is a U.S. permanent resident and student living in Tenafly, New Jersey, according to the KCNA report.
    According to the news agency, the 21-year-old is a student at New York University.
    In a statement obtained by CNN, New York State University (NYU) said Won-moon Joo is not taking classes this semester, and the university was unaware of his travels.
    "When we heard the news reports, NYU got in touch with the student's family to express our concerns over his welfare and to convey our support. His well-being is in our thoughts and prayers," said NYU Spokesman John Beckman. He adds the university has also be in touch with the US State Department and the South Korean embassy regarding the situation.
    The traveling student allegedly crossed illegally into North Korea from China, via the Yalu River.
    He was arrested on April 22 and has "admitted that his illegal entry was a serious violation" of North Korean law, according to KCNA.
    The South Korean Unification Ministry said that it believed he was being detained in North Korea but that it was "working to fact-check details of the detainment."
    "Currently, we cannot announce any more details in consideration of the safety of Joo and his family," the ministry said in a statement Sunday.
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