NK News can reveal that Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American citizen currently under arrest in North Korea, is the owner of Nation Tours, a company that focuses on tours to the north-east region of the DPRK.
As of today, Nations Tour’s website has been taken down. However, cached records describe the companies mission objective as “Loving People, Loving Culture, Loving Nature”.
On the removed “About” page of the website, Nation Tours explain that following exploratory trips to North Korea,
We found ourselves falling in love with the friendly people…and fascinating culture… After realizing this love was something that needed to be shared with as many people possible, we developed Nation Tours so that others could fall in love with North Korea, too.
Web hosting records reveal that Bae used a Los Angeles based firm to register his company in late 2011. However, the cached website shows a Chinese contact number, suggesting that Bae or colleagues would have a permanent Sino-based presence.
On the news of his reported arrest, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland today said,
We’re obviously aware of these reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea…We obviously have no higher priority than the welfare of our citizens.
However, when pressed, Nuland would neither confirm nor deny the reports, citing “privacy considerations.”
A South Korean newspaper reported that Bae had been arrested by security authorities in North Korea in early November.
Bae, 44, reportedly entered the northeastern port city of Rajin on 3 November along with five other tourists for a five-day trip, according to the Kookmin Ilbo.
Bae was detained by North Korean authorities and has been questioned after a computer hard disk was found among the tourists, it quoted an unidentified source as saying.
The source told the paper that the hard disk might have contained sensitive information about North Korea.