April 25, 2014 12:03 PM EDT

North Korea this month detained an American tourist it claims was seeking asylum in the country, according to reports that emerged Friday from the state news agency.

The 24-year-old man, Miller Matthew Todd, reportedly tore up his tourist visa, and shouted “he would seek asylum” and “came to the DPRK (North Korea) after choosing it as a shelter,” according to reports citing North Korean state news agency KCNA. Todd was reportedly detained April 10.

In the eyes of the U.S. State Department, an American has to appear in person before a diplomatic officer in a foreign country and sign an oath to formally renunciate his or her citizenship.

The announcement came on the same day U.S. President Barack Obama held a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul to talk about potential sanctions as North Korea reportedly prepares its fourth nuclear test.


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