The Australian scholar presumably detained in North Korea may have been silenced prior to US President Donald Trump's visit to the demilitarized zone, an expert said Friday.
The disturbing new theory emerges when Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke about his concern about the well-being of Mr. Sigley from the G20 summit of central bankers and world leaders in Japan.
& # 39; It is disturbing to me and I am sure that his family will also & # 39 ;, Morrison said Friday from Osaka.
Alek Sigley can be safe with his communications cut off as tensions rise in the mysterious communist state prior to US President Donald Trump's weekend visit to South Korea
Alek Sigley (right) at his wedding with Yuka Morinaga, 26, in May 2018. Mrs. Morinaga received her last message from Mr. Sigley on Monday evening. Mrs. Morinaga normally speaks daily with her husband at WhatsApp in Tokyo, where she is based
& # 39; The expression of support and assistance that has come from other countries that I have met while I am here is very welcome & he said.
& # 39; We will continue to focus on that and try to make it clear what exactly happened and then take steps from that point. & # 39;
Australian National University North Korea expert Leonard Petrov said that the secret communist state saw Mr Sigley's regular blogging about life in North Korea as a security risk and deliberately cut him off from communication.
North Korean expert Leonard Petrov said that North Korea saw Mr Sigley's regular blogging about life in North Korea as a security risk and deliberately cut him off from communication.
& # 39; I think North Koreans may have decided to close his blog … because the information came from North Korea, which is unprecedented, & # 39; said Dr. Petrov against the ABC.
Sigley, the only Australian living in North Korea, moved there in 2018 to study for a Masters in Korean Literature at Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang.
He also regularly runs a tour company for foreign visitors and blogs. He has a Twitter account with 4000 followers.
On his blog and on social media, mr. Sharing Sigley non-controversial, non-political information about daily life in the hermit's will, that is fascinating for outsiders because it is so closed.
Dr. Petrov, a friend of Mr. Sigley, said he didn't think Sigley was in immediate danger because he was a stranger who had been allowed to study there.
But he remained a potential risk because he was not controlled and censored by the North Korean dictatorship, he said.
Pictured: Aleks Sigley & # 39; s student ID for Kim Il Sung University, where he studies Korean literature
Dr. Petrov said with US President Donald Trump planned to visit the demilitarized zone on Sunday that tensions had increased in both South and North Korea, leading to intensified security measures.
Trump comes to South Korea for a two-day visit on Saturday and meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday, following a summit of G20 leaders in Japan.
& # 39; Normally North Korea is a closed book & # 39 ;, said Dr. Petrov.
& # 39; As a long-term resident on a student visa I have almost unprecedented access to Pyongyang & # 39 ;, he wrote in an editorial in The Guardian
& # 39; Information is protected, journalists are not allowed or carefully investigated.
& # 39; So an international student who has been studying at the university for more than a year and continually imparting information about the withdrawn country could have been seen as a potential diversion factor on the eve of a potential third summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. & # 39;
Mr Sigley's last social media post on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which was still not completed after construction was halted in 1992 when North Korea broke through an economic crisis.
He was open about sharing his experiences in North Korea, writing an editorial in it The Guardian about his time there.
Mr Sigley's last social media post on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which was still not completed after construction was halted in 1992 when North Korea started an economic crisis
North Korea dictatorship:
North Korea is a communist dictatorship founded in 1948
It has a population of 25 million and the capital is Pyongyang
The current leader is Kim Jong-Il, 36
There are extremely strict laws about what citizens can do and say
Anyone who speaks unfavorably about the government can be arrested
Foreigners are often closely monitored when they are allowed in
The last time a stranger was arrested was in 2017
University of Virginia, student Otto Warmbier, was detained for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster
He died six days after he was returned to the United States
& # 39; As a long-term resident on a student visa, I have almost unprecedented access to Pyongyang & # 39 ;, he wrote.
& # 39; I am free to roam the city without anyone accompanying me. Interaction with the locals can sometimes be limited, but I can shop and eat almost anywhere. & # 39;
The 29-year-old student has not been in digital contact with friends and family since the Australian time of Tuesday morning, which is unusual for him.
His panic attacks wife Yuka Morinaga, 26, from Japan, received her last message from Mr. Sigley on Monday night.
Mrs. Morinaga, who married Mr. Sigley in the presence of dozens of family and friends in May 2018 in Pyongyang, normally speaks to her husband daily through WhatsApp from Tokyo, where she is based.
Mrs. Morinaga said she hadn't noticed anything strange in her last conversation when her husband talked about food and shared photos of a tailored suit he took with classmates.
Australia has no official diplomatic presence in North Korea and the British ambassador is handling the case.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Radio National on Friday morning that the Australian government was unable to confirm Mr Sigley's whereabouts or what his condition might be.
& # 39; The fact that we were unable to confirm that is a demonstration of how difficult it is to handle North Korea & # 39 ;, he said.
North Korea was an unpredictable destination and circumstances that were beyond Australia's control, he said.
According to Mr Birmingham, Sweden helped diplomatic relations in North Korea through diplomatic relations in Pyongyang, while Australia provided consular assistance to the Sigley family.
Last week, Sigley shared photos of herself in a North Korean soccer uniform
He also shared photos of propaganda posters he had seen throughout the DPRK (above)
Mr Sigley's social media accounts have been closed since his family's disappearance to prevent unnecessary speculation and commentary on those channels.
It was previously reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had confirmed that an Australian man was reportedly detained in North Korea.
Daily Mail Australia contacted the department on Friday to request confirmation. The Ministry drew Daily Mail's attention to Trade Minister Simon Birmingham's remarks that the government still wanted clarification on Mr. Sigley's whereabouts.
Since the death of University of Virginia, student Otto Warmbier in 2017, foreigners have not been detained in North Korea.
Otto Warmbier was detained in Pyongyang because he had used a propaganda poster as a souvenir. He was returned to the United States in a coma in June 2017
Mr. Warmbier is taken off the plane in a vegetative state shortly after arriving in the United States. He died six days later, claiming his family had been tortured in North Korea
Warmbier traveled to Pyongyang with a group when he was arrested and detained at the airport for taking a propaganda poster as a souvenir from the hotel where he was staying.
He was detained in Pyongyang and later returned to his family in a vegetative state accused by the North Korean authorities of food poisoning.
Mr. Warmbier died six days after he was returned to the US in June 2017.
What did Alek Sigley share?
Alek Sigley writes a blog in which he shares information about life in North Korea.
He wrote that his goal of blogging was & # 39; simply presenting life in North Korea as I see it and experiencing & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I do not claim that this is the authoritative or definitive perspective on the country & he said.
In a post he shared about the restaurants he visited in the closed country.
He revealed that consumers can try bear, wild boar and donkey.
Restaurants also offer ostrich, water buffalo, turkey, raccoon dog and badger, he said.
& # 39; I have discovered some excellent places to dine in the city & # 39 ;, he wrote.
In a post he shared about the restaurants he visited in the closed country
& # 39; My dorm room friends (some of the other foreign students) and I have the habit of trying out different new restaurants every week.
& # 39; They are sometimes not far from our home in the Taesong district and at other times outside of it. A few are the recommendations of local or foreign friends, while others are places we just stumble into. & # 39;
He has also posted about fashion in North Korea, which he claims to be & # 39; more modern & # 39; has become.
In the post he also shares images from a fashion magazine.
Alek Sigley has placed rare glimpses in the secret country where media rules are notoriously strict
& # 39; The men's magazine performs the same function as the ladies: inventory of state-sanctioned styles, and is also structured in the same way, with color photos of models in front and designs in the back, and an occasional block of text that offers fashion advice, & # 39; he wrote.
He said, however, that the streetwear of the South is still far away.
He said the women's magazine presented clothing as a & # 39; embody the innate properties of our (Korean) people & # 39 ;. While the men's magazine dropped the tradition reference.
He wrote a blog post in May last year in which he explained how he was 15 meters away from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the ballet.
He said the leader was greeted with ecstatic applause by an ecstatic crowd.
& # 39; The men's magazine performs the same function as the ladies: make an inventory of state-sanctioned styles & # 39 ;, he wrote.
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