A North Korean soldier stands on the river bank in Sinuiju, North Korea, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on June 12, 2013.
May 3, 2015 11:14 AM EDT

A man identified as a South Korean student at New York University is being detained in North Korea, according to the South’s unification ministry, one day after the North’s state news agency said it had arrested and charged him with illegally entering the reclusive country.

New Jersey resident Won Moon Joo, 21, was arrested April 22 after apparently attempting to cross a river that serves as part of the border between China and North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency said. An official from South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Sunday that its “judgment” was that Joo was being held but the circumstances over his detainment remained unclear, according to the Los Angeles Times.

John Beckman, a spokesperson for New York University, said in a statement that a student by the same name was a junior at the university’s Stern School of Business, though is not taking classes this semester. Beckman said the university has contacted the State Department and the South Korean Embassy.


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