Korean-American admitted spying: official

Mar 25, 2016, 1:45 PM EDT

The Korean-American, Kim Dong Chul, 62, who was arrested in North Korea on espionage charges in October last year, confessed to spying for South Korea, said a North Korean official. Kim, whose espionage activities have been funded by the South Korean intelligence since 2011, pleaded mercy for attempting to leak military secrets.

"The extraordinary crime I committed was defaming and insulting the republic's highest dignity and its system and spreading false propaganda aimed at breaking down its solidarity,” confessed Kim.

Kim, a naturalized American, revealed that he began spying in April 2013 by bribing locals to collect important material, which he smuggled into China or South Korea, reports CNN. The media outlet writes that Kim categorically denied working for the U.S. when inquired about the same.

Reacting to the reports of Kim’s confession, the U.S. State Department said it was aware of the development but lacked further details, writes Reuters. The media outlet observed the similarity between Kim’s comments and those of another American, Otto Warmbier, being held in North Korea.

North Korea, which exercises a strict control over any external information in its territory, has often been criticized for its human rights record and for using detention of Americans as a tool to “extract high-profile” visits from the U.S, with which it has no diplomatic ties, writes Reuters.