An American student has been detained by North Korean officials in Pyongyang, according to Young Pioneer Tours, the company with whom the student was traveling.
The student is Otto Frederick Warmbier, according to North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA (Korean Central News Agency).
The student had entered North Korea as a tourist and was detained for "committing a hostile act against the state," according to KCNA. Pyongyang claims the student is linked to the U.S. government.
Warmbier is currently a student at the University of Virginia. The university said it has been in touch with Warmbier's family.
Young Pioneer Tours is based in China and specializes in trips to North Korea. The tour group confirmed Warmbier was detained on Jan. 2, 2016.
A statement from Young Pioneer Tours says, "We can confirm that the reports that one of our clients is being detained in Pyongyang are true. Their family have been informed and we are in contact with the Swedish Embassy, (who act as the protecting interest for U.S citizens), who are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the case. We are also assisting the U.S Department of State closely with regards to the situation. In the meantime we would appreciate Otto’s and his family’s privacy being respected and we hope his release can be secured as soon as possible."
August Borg, the first secretary of the Swedish Embassy, declined to comment on Warmbier's detention.
"Sweden is the protecting power for the U.S. in North Korea. That means we support and look after the consular interests of U.S. citizens here. However our secrecy when it comes to consular issues is absolute, we never comment on individual cases," he said in a statement.
The U.S. State Department advised citizens last November not to travel to DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea).
"Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries," according to the State Department's site.
Warmbier is the second American currently held hostage in North Korea. Earlier this month, CNN reported a Korean-American man was being held on charges of spying.
North Korea often announces news of detained foreigners to gain leverage against the West. Today's announcement comes as South Korea, the U.S. and other nations are preparing to announce sanctions against Pyongyang for testing a fourth nuclear bomb last month.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.