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U.S. declines comment on investigation of Korean American in China

August 8, 2014

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) — The United States declined comment Thursday on a news report that a Korean American is under investigation in China, possibly as part of a crackdown on Christian-run nongovernmental organizations near the border with North Korea.

Peter Han

Peter Han

The Reuters news agency reported earlier that Peter Han, a naturalized U.S. citizen, has been under interrogation by Chinese authorities for the last three weeks and is banned from leaving the country. It quoted a source saying it is unclear what prompted the probe.

The report said, however, that the investigation could be part of a wider sweep of Christian-run NGOs and businesses along the border with North Korea. Han runs a school for ethnic Korean children in the city of Tumen and operates humanitarian projects and businesses in North Korea, the report said.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a regular press briefing Thursday that she is aware of the report, but could not comment because of “privacy considerations.”

“Well, I can’t comment in any way on these specific cases. Obviously, we care very deeply about the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens all over the world, and we provide consular access when needed, in general,” she told reporters.

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