North Korea sets trial date for US man Matthew Miller

File photo: US citizen Matthew Miller speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea, 1 August 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption North Korean authorities say Matthew Miller wanted to claim asylum

A US citizen detained in North Korea after allegedly tearing up his visa will be put on trial on 14 September, North Korean state media report.

Matthew Miller, 24, was arrested in April at North Korea's immigration. He is one of three Americans currently held in North Korea.

On Monday, Mr Miller and the two other men made a televised appeal for help from the US government.

North Korea has a history of using detainees as bargaining chips.

Mr Miller allegedly tore up his tourist visa on arrival in North Korea and tried to seek asylum, North Korean state media reported at the time.

KCNA news agency described the act as a "gross violation" of North Korean law.

'Top priority'

On Sunday, KCNA released a statement saying the government had "decided to hold on September 14 a court trial on American Matthew Todd Miller, now in custody according to the indictment of a relevant institution".

It gave no further details, and did not specify the charges against him.

US citizens Kenneth Bae, 46, and Jeffrey Fowle, 56, are also held in North Korea.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jeffrey Fowle was detained in June, while Kenneth Bae has been held since November 2012

Mr Bae, a Korean American missionary and tour operator, is serving a sentence of 15 years hard labour in a camp outside Pyongyang after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government.

Mr Fowle entered North Korea as a tourist, but, according to reports, was accused of distributing Christian information - something the North considers incendiary.

During his interview with reporters on Monday, made in the presence of North Korean officials, he said he expected to be put trial within a month, but did not know what specific charges he faced.

The White House has described securing the release of three American citizens as a "top priority".

In the past, Americans held by Pyongyang have been freed after senior US figures, including former President Bill Clinton, travelled to the country to negotiate.

The US has offered several times to send Robert King, its special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to Pyongyang to discuss the detainees, but these visits have been cancelled by North Korea.

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