If someone from the western world happens to be in a country as corrupt and unstable as North Korea, devastating circumstances can occur. They assume people from the West have money or some kind of influence or power that can allow them to negotiate terms as to the kidnapped person's safe return.
One thing is for certain around the world - people don't like Americans. They see us as an extension of our government, which is extremely unpopular. Terrorists targeted an American university a couple weeks ago, and this student was supposedly kidnapped because he spoke English. I'd certainly be more careful than normal when outside the United States.
I know that some people need to go to these certain countries for their jobs or some other reason. But my belief is, if you don't have to go, you shouldn't go. Why is a U.S. student in North Korea? What makes it worth the risk of being thrown in prison or kidnapped? I believe that Americans and English people are targeted. We don't look like them. They generally don't like Americans. Being different in one of those countries is not a good thing. Just don't go.
English speaking tourists to North Korea are at higher risk of kidnapping. Many American visitors to North Korea have been kidnapped or gone missing. Therefore, Westerners should not visit the isolated country, because it is just too dangerous. North Korea does not recognize basic human rights standards, nor does it give prisoners fair trials.