North Korea denies kidnapping US student 12 years ago
October 9, 2016
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has denied allegations that its agents kidnapped an American student in China.
David Sneddon was said to have died in 2004 in China’s Yunnan Province in a hiking accident at age 24.
But speculation was raised that the Utah student may have been kidnapped by North Korea after a report by the head of South Korea’s Abductees’ Family Union.
A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry denied the report in a statement posted Saturday on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
KCNA said the kidnapping allegation was a plot by the Obama administration to tarnish North Korea’s international image by dramatizing “the non-existent ‘human rights issue.’”
“We flatly deny and categorically reject this far-fetched assertion as a swindle which does not deserve even a passing note,” the spokesman said.
The head of the South Korea’s Abductees’ Family Union, Choi Sung-yong told reporters over the summer that Sneddon is an English teacher in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and apparently has a wife and two children.
The U.S. State Department dismissed the reports, saying it had no “verifiable evidence” to support the abduction claims.
A spokesman, John Kirby, said last month that the U.S. and China had been in regular contact since Sneddon went missing in August 2004. He said the U.S. has handed over all the information gathered on the case to Sneddon’s parents, but officials continue to closely monitor the situation.
“I cannot speculate for the reasons of his disappearance. However, I can tell you that we have seen no verifiable evidence to indicate that Mr Sneddon was abducted by North Korean officials,” Kirby said.
Sneddon was reported missing after he failed to meet his brother at the airport in Seoul, South Korea.
Chinese authorities reported he had died during a hiking accident, but his body was never recovered.
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