Australian Christian missionary detained in North Korea

John Short

An Australian missionary has been detained by authorities in North Korea for allegedly possessing religious material, reports the ABC.

The ABC understands John Short, 75, was arrested at his Pyongyang hotel on Sunday after distributing Christian pamphlets and his family says he could face up to 15 years' jail.

His wife, Karen, says it was his second trip to the secretive country and he was aware of the risks. 'My husband does what he believes is what God wants him to do,' Mrs Short said.

'Without sounding strange, that's him, he's a man of faith. We're faith missionaries and he believed that we should care and not just talk but do something. He had some gospel tracts that he had written and they were in the Korean language.'

Mrs Short says she has been told the charges against her husband are serious.

She says the Australian Government is doing everything possible to help. 'The Foreign Affairs Department [says] "this is an out-of-the-ordinary case for us",' Mrs Short said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says it is difficult for Australia to offer consular support to Mr Short because Australia does not have diplomatic representatives in North Korea.

'Our interests in North Korea are represented by the Swedish embassy and we have been in close contact with Swedish officials in Pyongyang to seek their assistance in confirming that Mr Short is well and that we can get as much information as we can from them,' Ms Bishop said.

FULL COVERAGE

Australian missionary John Short detained in North Korea (ABC)

South Australian man detained in North Korea on suspicion of doing missionary work (The SMH)

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