North Korea detains third American

A North Korean soldier (R) looks south on the North side, as a South Korean soldier stands guard at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone which separates the two Koreas, May 14 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption North Korean agents are particularly sensitive to religious material

North Korea arrested an American tourist for inappropriate activities, the US has confirmed.

A report on the KCNA news agency said Jeffrey Edward Fowle had entered North Korea on 29 April, but was detained as he was leaving the country.

The report said he has been questioned but gave no more details. Japanese agency Kyodo said Mr Fowle was held because he left a Bible at a hotel.

North Korea is now holding three US citizens, according to US officials.

"We are aware that a US citizen has been detained by North Korea," US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Friday.

"We continue to actively seek the release of all three."

US-Korean missionary Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012 and is serving 15 years of hard labour after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government.

In late April, KCNA said an American named Matthew Todd Miller had been taken into custody on 10 April.

KCNA said he had torn up his tourist visa, shouting that he had "come to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] after choosing it as a shelter".

North Korea uses the arrested Americans as diplomatic bargaining chips.

In the past, senior US figures including former President Bill Clinton have travelled to the country to ensure the release of American detainees.

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