NORTH Korea has said it will deport an American citizen it detained for illegal entrance, an apparent concession to the US that came even as it announced the test of a new “ultramodern” weapon that will be seen as a pressuring tactic by Washington.

The two announcements, which seemed aimed at both appeasing and annoying Washington, suggest Pyongyang wants to keep alive dialogue with the US even as it struggles to express its frustration at stalled nuclear diplomacy.

North Korea in the past has held arrested American citizens for an extended period before high-profile US figures travelled to Pyongyang to secure their freedom.

Last year, American university student Otto Warmbier died days after he was released in a coma from North Korea after 17 months in captivity.

Yesterday, the Korean Central News Agency said American national Bruce Byron Lowrance was detained on October 16 for illegally entering the country from China.

It said he told investigators he was under the “manipulation” of the CIA.

A short KCNA dispatch said North Korea decided to deport him but did not say why and when.

The North’s decision matches Kim Jong-un’s general push for engagement with the US this year after a string of weapons tests in 2017, and a furious US response, had some fearing war on the Korean peninsula.