In Interview, US Detainee Traveled to North Korea With Goal of Getting Arrested

Miller Says Getting Arrested Harder Than He Thought

American citizen Matthew Miller, detained earlier this year by North Korea’s government while on a tourist visa, has given a bizarre interview to NK News detailing his reasons for going, and the nature of his detention.

“I went to North Korea to deliver this notebook and to be detained,” Miller claimed, with the notebook aiming to give them a pretext for a longer detention by portraying him as something of a spy.

Yet Miller insists his visit was entirely tourism, and that he was “prepared for torture” when he went to the nation and tried to claim “political asylum,” and didn’t want the US to help secure his release.

North Korea sentenced Miller to six years hard labor back in September, but he was released to the US this month. Despite that, Miller says he considers that he “achieved my goals” as a tourist, though he did feel somewhat guilty in getting himself detained.

Miller says the North Korean officials were far nicer than he anticipated, and instead of locking him up and throwing away the key, which was apparently his plan, he was “killed with kindness” and the North Korean government seemed eager to just be rid of him, trying to expel him before finally agreeing to arrest him.

The fact that he went to North Korea on this bizarre whim and went to such great lengths to get arrested underscores the dangers in US officials making every such arrest a huge diplomatic scandal, as North Korea seemed reluctant to arrest the man at all, and apparently never bought his own claims to be a hacker/spy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of