No news a week after Australian disappears in North Korea

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister said on Tuesday he had no news on the fate of an Australian citizen who vanished in North Korea a week ago.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had prayed for 29-year-old student Alek Sigley, who has not contacted his family and friends by social media since last Tuesday.

Morrison was attending a service at St. Christopher’s Catholic Cathedral in Canberra ahead of the first sitting of Parliament since the May election.

“My prayers this morning are for Alek Sigley and his family. This is a very troubling and concerning situation and we will be continuing to use every effort that we have to locate him and hopefully to be able to bring him home safely,” Morrison told reporters.

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“I’m seeking and receiving regular updates, but this morning in the absence of those, and indeed regardless of that, prayer is my response,” Morrison added.

Australia has diplomatic ties with North Korea but does not have an embassy there. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang offers limited consular help to Australians.

Some media reports said Sigley, a Pyongyang university student and tour guide, had been detained. Official media in North Korea haven’t mentioned an arrest.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that a Swedish special envoy arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, and South Korean media have speculated the arrival is likely related to Sigley. KCNA said North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho met with the Swedish delegation on Tuesday and exchanged views on bilateral ties and the political situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula. The agency provided no other details.

Morrison was offered help to find Sigley by several world leaders who attended in the Group of 20 summit in Japan last week.

Sigley’s family has referred media questions to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The department did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for information.

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Associated Press journalist Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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