A 24-year-old American tourist was detained in North Korea for what officials in the secretive state on Friday called "a gross violation of its legal order.''
Matthew Miller, identified by the group he was traveling with, Uri Tours, allegedly tore his visa to pieces upon entering the country and said he had chosen it as a place of "shelter," according to state-run KCNA news agency.
Miller was in custody "on claims of seeking asylum," Uri Tours said in a statement. "We have been working closely and continuously with all relevant government and diplomatic entities to resolve this matter in a speedy and favorable manner."
The State Department said Friday it was aware of the media reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea, but they had “no additional information to share.”
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the U.S. has been in touch with the Swedish Embassy, which represents American interests in North Korea.
Miller was allegedly taken into custody on April 10, but North Korea only announced his detention on Friday. The government said he was held for "his rash behavior in the course of going through formalities for entry into the DPRK (North Korea) to tour it,'' according to a translation by Reuters.
Korean-American missionary, Kenneth Bae, has been held in North Korea since November 2012 for what the country asserted were hostile acts against the state. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.