The US state department today said they are aware of the arrest of an American citizen in North Korea following reports of Korean-American Kenneth Bae's detainment there over a month ago, according to South Korea's Yonhap.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland declined to comment publicly on Bae's case due to "privacy considerations," but said the agency is "obviously aware of these reports that a US citizen has been detained in North Korea," according to Yonhap.
"We obviously have no higher priority than the welfare of our citizens," she said.
A US official told CNN today that Bae is affiliated with a Protestant religious group and is not believed to have been harmed.
Sweden, the American liaison in North Korea, is lobbying for his release, the official said, according to CNN.
South Korean media earlier reported that 44-year-old Bae, a tour operator, was detained by North Korean authorities during a five-day visit to the country's coastal city of Rajin in early November, said Yonhap.
A report by South Korea's Kookmin Ilbo, citing an anonymous source, said Bae was interrogated after authorities found a computer hard disk, according to Yonhap.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct CNN's report of the US official's comments on Bae. It is not believed Bae is being mistreated while in North Korea.