North Korea to expel USA citizen who 'illegally entered' country

North Korea said on Friday (Nov 16) it had expelled a U.S. citizen who tried to enter illegally, an unusually swift resolution of a case that could have further complicated reconciliation moves between the two countries.

"While being questioned, he said he had illegally entered the country under the command of the US Central Intelligence Agency", KCNA reported.

No information has been provided about the deportation deadline, according to Yonhap.

The reclusive regime freed three US detainees in May in an apparent goodwill gesture before a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

North Korea has suspended nuclear and missile tests as it endeavours to improve relations with the outside world, and there was no indication this weapon was nuclear-related or a missile.

Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that Bruce Byron Lowrance was deported and on a flight back to the U.S. Friday.

It is rare for North Korea to release an American detainee so swiftly and it comes amid stalled negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Friday that the US "appreciates" the cooperation of North Korea and Sweden in bringing about the release of an American citizen.

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However, the announcement about the new weapon test marked Mr Kim's first high-profile visit to a military site since the June summit, and the first announcement of any weapons test this year.

Furthermore, a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong-chol that had been scheduled for last week in NY has been postponed.

"With Pyongyang testing what appears to some sort of new weapon as well as voicing its anger in state media over and over that negotiations with Washington are not where they want them to be, we should continue to watch the Korean Peninsula very carefully", Kazianis advised.

There are no known USA detainees still held by the rigid communist state.

"Pyongyang is putting pressure on Seoul and Washington for sanctions relief that they've been asking for", he said.

A spokesman at the State Department said in an email that "we are aware of reports of the release of a USA citizen who had been detained by the DPRK" while declining to share details of the detainee "due to privacy considerations".

A man of the same name was deported from South Korea in November 2017 after being found wandering near the highly fortified border with the North.

Trump welcomed home the other three detainees, all American citizens of Korean descent, at Joint Base Andrews, a military airbase in Maryland in early May.

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