N. Korea Confirms American Detained
Missionary Robert Park held for entering country illegally
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 29, 2009 1:25 AM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2009 1:54 AM CST
US missionary Robert Park prays for North Korean political prisoners at a protest in Seoul, South Korea earlier this month.   (Seo Suk-gu)
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(Newser) – North Korean officials have confirmed that a Korean-American activist has been detained for entering the country illegally. Missionary Robert Park, 28, traveled to the communist nation to call attention to the regime's human rights abuses, according to supporters. The Arizona resident slipped across a frozen river into the country from China on Christmas Day carrying a letter calling on Kim Jong-Il to shut down North Korea's political prison camps.

Park's uncle was heartened by North Korea's confirmation that officials are holding the young missionary. "My fear was that they'd say they don't know anything about it and may get rid of him secretly," he told the AP. "Once they recognize it, that's really good."