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Korean-American detained in North Korea confesses to espionage

A Korean-American man detained by North Korea has confessed to unspecified espionage acts intended to undermine Pyongyang. The news comes just days after a US tourist was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for spying.

Kim Tong Chol, who previously stated he was a naturalized US citizen, told a press conference in the capital that he had been arrested in North Korea in October for trying to steal military secrets from the isolated state. No other details regarding his alleged crimes or incarceration were made available.

Kim asked for mercy during the conference, Japan's Kyodo and China's Xinhua news agencies reported.

Kim Tong Chol

Kim Tong Chol

It is not uncommon for North Korean authorities to hold a press conference for US and other foreign detainees in which they are instructed to read prepared statements acknowledging their wrongdoing and praising Pyongyang's political system.

Kim's public media conference comes

nine days after Pyongyang sentenced a US tourist to 16 years' imprisonment

with hard labor for subversion.

String of threats

Meanwhile, North Korean soldiers have reportedly been told to be at the ready to "ruthlessly destroy South Korean government organizations," leader Kim Jong Un said in his latest string of threats issued via state media on Friday.

Kim made the comments during an inspection of a long-range artillery exercise, South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted Pyongyang's state-run KCNA as saying.

All soldiers are to be on "high alert," Kim reportedly said.

Since the beginning of the year, tensions have been high across the peninsula following a nuclear test and long-range rocket launch by North Korea (pictured above). As a result, stricter international sanctions were placed on the isolated communist regime.

North Korea successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine, which Kim said would "make our enemies shudder with fear," KCNA reported on Thursday.

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15 years for stealing a sign

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