The family of an Australian missionary says he has been detained in North Korea.

A statement his family released Wednesday said John Short went to North Korea in a regular tour group last week. Another person on the tour returned to China on Tuesday and told the family Short had been arrested Sunday in Pyongyang.

The statement said the tour company reported that North Korean officials refused to take their calls.

John Short is 75 and lives in Hong Kong with his wife.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it has asked the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to confirm Short's wellbeing and to seek more information.

Australia has no diplomatic representation in North Korea and is represented in Pyongyang by the Swedish Embassy.