Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour operator and U.S. citizen, has been detained in North Korea for more than a month, U.S. officials said Tuesday, CNN reports.
According to CNN, U.S. officials do not believe that Bae, who has been affiliated with a Protestant religious group, is being mistreated. The Swedish government, which acts as the protecting power for the U.S. in North Korea, is trying to get him released, an official said.
The U.S. State Department would not confirm or deny the reports of Bae's detention Tuesday, citing "privacy considerations," South Korea's Yonhap News reported.
"We're obviously aware of these reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea," Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the State Department said at a press briefing Tuesday. "We obviously have no higher priority than the welfare of our citizens ... I, frankly, can’t comment any further than that due to privacy considerations."
Bae, 44, entered the North Korean port city of Rajin on Nov. 3 along with five other tourists for a five-day trip, South Korean media reported.
The Kookmin Ilbo newspaper quoted an anonymous source that said Bae was allegedly detained after one of the tourists was found to be in possession of "computer hard disk" that may have contained sensitive information.
Bae lives in Washington state, according to Fox News Seattle.