Otto Warmbier North Korea detainee
Otto Warmbier was arrested in North Korea for alleged hostile acts Facebook

The Virginia University student detained in North Korea after supposedly committing a "hostile act" towards the pariah state has been named as Otto Warmbier. The student, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, was travelling with a China-based tour company when he was arrested in Pyongyang.

According to state media broadcaster KCNA, Warmbier was caught "committing a hostile act against the state", which it said was "tolerated and manipulated by the US government". It said the student had entered the country with an "aim to destroy the country's unity".

He is the third foreigner to be detained by Kim Jong-un's regime and is charged with "perpetrating a hostile act against the DPRK after entering it under the guise of tourist for the purpose of bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation", according to KCNA.

An official at the US embassy in the South Korean capital Seoul said it was aware of the reported arrest, and Warmbier's family is in contact with the Swedish Embassy, which protects US citizens in the region.

A LinkedIn profile under Warmbier's name lists his most recent work experience as an managing director at Alternative Investment Fund where he "managed AIF's $20,000 portfolio as a voting member of the Investment Committee", led meetings and taught lessons on "modeling, mergers, acquisitions, IPO's and spinoffs".

Tensions in Asia escalated early in January when North Korea claimed it had successfully developed and detonated a hydrogen bomb. Ahead of a meeting with his Chinese counterpart this week, US deputy secretary of state Antony J Blinken said the US and its allies could ramp up sanctions on Kim in the event Beijing fails to clamp down on its belligerent neighbour.