In a superheated worldwide exchange that takes tit for tat to a whole new level - one that only could involve North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un - the nuke-minded communist country has pushed back at Colorado Republican U.S. Sen.
"A relevant institution is now conducting detailed investigation into his crimes", the Korean Central News Agency said about Kim Hak Song. "North Korean media haven't said whether the two men knew each other".
The university's co-founder Chan-Mo Park said Kim, who manages the school's experimental farm at the college of agriculture and life sciences, was detained on route by train from Pyongyang to China's border town of Dandong.
A meeting between a North Korean government delegation and U.S. political experts reportedly took place in Norway on Monday (8 May) with another round of talks scheduled for Tuesday.
An official of the U.S. State Department said the detentions underscored "the risk associated with travel to North Korea". "We are well-aware of it, and we are going to work through the embassy of Sweden. through our State Department to seek the release of the individuals there".
In an emailed statement, a State Department official said: "The security of USA citizens is one of the department's highest priorities".
Read the whole story from AFP. They described Kim as being committed to improving North Korea's agricultural economy.
It was the second time within one month that North Korea has arrested American citizens for allegedly carrying out hostile activities against Pyongyang. Hak-song is the second USA professor at the university to have been detained.
The other two US nationals now being held in the North are college student Otto Warmbier and Korean-American pastor Kim Dong Chul, who received lengthy prison terms for "crimes against the state" and spying, respectively.
"Track-two meetings are routinely held on a variety of topics around the world and occur independent of USA government involvement", a State Department official said.
"I think he is reckless and maybe even a little unhinged", she said, referring to Kim Jong-Un.
In January past year, North Korea also arrested Otto Warmbier, a US college student who had traveled to the country as a tourist. Warmbier was convicted of subversion in March 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
The ambassador showed his disdain towards the United Nations for not accepting their rights to launch missiles and carry out nuclear tests.
"He worked as a farmer", Kim's wife said. It is unclear what prompted his detention, but he has been charged with "hostile criminal acts with an aim to subvert the country".
Analysts say North Korea often attempts to use foreign detainees to wrest outside concessions, which in the past have sometimes involved high-profile American missions sent to secure the release of detainees.