A US citizen detained in North Korea has reportedly requested asylum because he wants to serve in the North Korean army and not a “capitalist militia,” South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported on Saturday.

Few details were released about the 28-year-old man, including his identity. He allegedly entered the Stalinist nation through China.

The US is working though the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to gain access to the detainee, according to a government spokesman in Washington.

The Swedes represent US interests in the country because the US and North Korea do not have formal diplomatic relations.

The man was arrested on January 25, becoming the second known US citizen in North Korean custody.

Another, Robert Park, was detained by North Korea in December while wandering across the border from China on a religious mission.

Washington has also sought access to him.

In March, two US journalists were arrested after allegedly entering North Korea illegally and sentenced to 12 years of hard labour. They were released and flown back to the United States months later, after a meeting in Pyongyang between former US president Bill Clinton and North Korea leader Kim Jong Il.

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