- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An 85-year-old war veteran from Palo Alto, Calif. has been detained in North Korea for more than three weeks, the San Jose Mercury News first reported.

Merrill Newman and a neighbor had visited North Korea with a tour business based in Beijing. He was set to leave the country on Oct. 26, but he was removed from his plane, the newspaper said.

“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea,” a State Department official said in an email. “There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad… We have no additional information to share at this time.”

The U.S. has updated its travel warning for North Korea, recommending against all travel, ABC News reported.

“U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention,” the department said.

Mr. Newman, who served as an infantry officer during the Korean War, is the second American to be detained in North Korea, ABC News said.

Kenneth Bae is the longest serving American detainee in North Korea since the end of the Korean War.

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