The student, Otto Warmbier, acknowledged and apologised in a conference attended by the media and some members of the diplomatic community today for stealing a political slogan from a staff-only section of the hotel where he had been staying. Pyongyang calls that an anti-state crime.
He said he took it as a trophy for a church that offered to pay him for it. North Korea announced late last month that it had arrested the 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student.
It said that after entering the country as a tourist he conducted an anti-state crime with "the tacit connivance of the US government and under its manipulation." Former detainees often recant such admissions after their release.