updated 3/22/2010 12:50:36 PM ET 2010-03-22T16:50:36

North Korea said Monday that it will put an American on trial for entering the communist country illegally.

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State-run media identified him as 30-year-old Aijalon Mahli Gomes, of Boston, and said "his crime has been confirmed." The brief dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency did not say when he would stand trial.

North Korea had announced two months ago that an American was detained Jan. 25 for trespassing after crossing into the country from China and was under investigation.

There was no immediate U.S. confirmation of the man's identity but State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last week that Swedish diplomats in Pyongyang have had access to an American in North Korean custody.

Gomes would be the fourth American detained in communist North Korea on charges of illegal entry in the past year. It was not immediately clear why he crossed into North Korea.

Two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were arrested a year ago near the Chinese border and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and engaging in "hostile acts." They were freed in August after former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a high-profile humanitarian visit to Pyongyang to negotiate their release .

On Christmas, American missionary Robert Park strode into North Korea from China on a self-proclaimed mission to draw attention to North Korea's human rights record and to call for leader Kim Jong Il to step down. He was released last month after more than 40 days in custody .

Push for talks on nuclear weapons
Monday's announcement comes as regional powers are pushing for North Korea, believed to have enough weaponized plutonium to make at least a half-dozen bombs, to rejoin international talks on dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang abandoned an aid-for-disarmament pact and pulled out of the negotiations last year to protest criticism of a rocket launch widely decried as a violation of U.N. sanctions.

North Korea's move to test a nuclear bomb weeks later prompted the U.N. Security Council to further tighten sanctions against the impoverished regime.

North Korea has pressed the U.S. for bilateral talks to discuss a peace treaty as part of any disarmament negotiations, citing the U.S. military presence on South Korean soil as a main reason for its drive to build nuclear weapons.

The two Koreas remain in a state of war, divided by a heavily fortified border, because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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