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State Dept: NKorea confirms it's holding American

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Friday that North Korea acknowledges it is holding an American citizen but hasn't granted diplomats consular access so the person's identity is not yet confirmed.

NKorea-American-Detai Sidd

This 2005 photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, in Palo Alto, Calif. An 85-year-old American veteran of the Korean War has been detained in North Korea since last month. The son of Merrill Newman told the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday his father was taken off a plane set to leave North Korea on Oct. 26. Jeffrey Newman said no reason was given. (AP Photo/Palo Alto Weekly, Nicholas Wright)

Expectation is that it will be Merrill Newman of California. The 85-year old Korean War veteran's family says he was detained at the end of a tourist trip to North Korea last month.

Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Sweden has been informed by Pyongyang that it is detaining an American citizen. Because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, Sweden oversees consular issues for the United States there.

Psaki says the Swedish Embassy is requesting access daily to the American.

"We are working in close coordination with representatives of the embassy of Sweden to resolve this issue. They have requested, actually on a daily basis, consular access," Psaki said. "They haven't been granted that access."

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