North Korea Missionary Arrested Bae John Short Communist Kim Jong-un
A protester from an anti-North Korean civic group looks at a sign depicting US Christian missionary Kenneth BaeReuters

Australian missionary John Short has been arrested in North Korea while travelling with a tour group in the communist state, according to his wife.

The arrest makes Short, 75, the second missionary to be arrested by the North after American Kenneth Bae was charged with attempting to overthrow the state and sentenced to 15 years hard labour. All diplomatic efforts by the US to secure Bae's release have failed.

The Australian government does not hold any diplomatic relations with Kim Jong-un's pariah state but is reported to be using the Australian consulate in Seoul and the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to begin dialogue with the North Koreans over Short's release.

Mrs Short said that her husband had openly told North Korean officials about his Christian faith and had even read his Bible in front of government guides.

"He won't be intimidated by the communists," Karen Short told Reuters.

"It's a bit traumatic, it's been 48 hours and my husband is still there.

"I'm not upset, we're Christian missionaries and we have tremendous support for what we do," she continued.

Christian website Gospel Attract states that Short has been arrested in China on numerous occasions for "speaking out about brutality against Chinese Christians".

A member of the tour group claimed that police turned up at Short's hotel before questioning him and detaining him.

"He's courageous, this is my husband's character," said Mrs Short. "I hope things get better - he's in God's hands, we both totally believe that."

Short was arrested on what was his second trip to the Korean Peninsula and is claimed to have been in possession of religious materials.

This week a UN investigation claimed that Kim Jong-un should face international justice for committing atrocities comparable to those carried out by the Nazis in World War Two.