U.S. citizen trying to leave North Korea detained

London [U.K.], Apr. 24 : A U.S. citizen trying to leave North Korea amid fears of a major war has been detained, bringing to three the number of Americans now being held in the country.

According to Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, t he detained American is Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, reports Guardian.

Kim taught accounting at the university for about a month and was detained by officials as he was trying to leave the country from Pyongyang's international airport.

Although the reason behind Kim's detention is yet to be ascertained, the development comes at a time of unusually heightened tensions between the US and North Korea, as both countries have recently been trading threats of war.

Last year, Otto Warmbier, then a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

Kim Dong Chul, who was born in South Korea but is also believed to have US citizenship, is serving a sentence of 10 years for espionage.

Meanwhile, following North Korea's threat to sink an American vessel, the Pentagon on Sunday called on Pyongyang to avoid destabilizing the situation further.

"We call on (North Korea) to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks.

North Korea's unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to US national security," Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said.

The statement came just hours after a North Korean newspaper said Pyongyang was ready to take out a US aircraft carrier conducting drills with Japanese destroyers near the Philippines.

Source: ANI