Washington: The United States has said it has been formally told by North Korea that it is holding a second US citizen and that authorities are investigating to find out the person`s identity.
North Korea, which has no diplomatic relations with Washington, informed the United States through its mission to the United Nations in New York, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
But the United States is still unaware of the person`s name or the circumstances in which he or she entered the reclusive communist state, he said.
The United States has asked Sweden, which handles its interests in Pyongyang, to look into the case, he said. "We do not know the identify of the citizen," he said.
"That is obviously why we have already taken steps working through our protecting power, the Swedes, to seek access so we can determine who it is and the circumstances," he said.
The North`s official Korean Central News Agency earlier said in a succinct dispatch that authorities had detained an American on Monday for crossing the border and that he was now under investigation.
Crowley said that the United States understands that it was a fresh case and that the report was not referring to Robert Park, another American held in North Korea.
Park, a Christian activist, crossed the border on Christmas Day in an effort to draw attention to human rights concerns in the one-party state.