A US Army private fled to the DPRK and wanted to seek asylum, but he was returned to America
US Army Private Travis King crossed the border into North Korea in July. On September 27, he was returned to the United States, reports CNN.
Pyongyang handed over to Washington American private Travis King, who illegally entered North Korean territory in the summer. A US official representative told reporters about this. He became the first American detained in North Korea in nearly five years.
King, 23, was among about 28 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from North Korea.
“I have good news to share this morning. I can immediately confirm that Private Travis King is in US hands,” the official said. She did not specify whether King was deprived of his freedom or whether he was facing a military tribunal in his homeland.
North Korean state media reported earlier that the DPRK had decided to "expel" King. Reports say the North Korean investigation into King is "completed."
King crossed the military demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South Korea and North Korea during a visit to the joint security zone inside the DMZ in July. US military officials said King crossed the border "intentionally and without authorization."
King, an enlisted soldier assigned to U.S. Forces Korea, was charged with the attack in South Korea and had to return to Fort Bliss, Texas. He was due to be discharged from the army just a day before he crossed the border into North Korea.
King served nearly two months in detention in South Korea and was escorted to Seoul's Incheon International Airport, from where he was due to fly back to his homeland, where he would likely face disciplinary action. But he didn’t make it to the plane, reports “Radio Azattyk".
King walked alone through security at the airport gate, where he told American Airlines employees that he had lost his passport. Accompanied by an airline employee and with the approval of a South Korean Justice Ministry official, King left the boarding area and was seen exiting the gate.
The next day, King joined a bus tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has divided the two Koreas since an armistice ended the Korean War in 1953. About 24 hours after leaving the airport, he sped into North Korean territory while touring the Joint Security Zone that straddles the border.
Sarah Leslie, a tourist from New Zealand who was on tour with King, said she saw him suddenly run across the border as US and South Korean troops tried to stop him.
“I only saw him run for a few seconds, and that was enough to cross the border,” she said.
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There is no physical barrier inside the DMZ. A US official previously said that after King crossed the border line, he tried to enter the North Korean facility, but the door was locked. He then ran to the back of the building before North Korean guards hurriedly bundled him into a van and drove him away.
On September 27, North Korea said King "admitted that he illegally invaded North Korean territory because he disliked the inhumane mistreatment and racial discrimination in the US military and became disillusioned with the inequality in American society."
It is impossible to verify whether these are King's own words.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last month that it would be “quite typical” for North Korea to use a U.S. soldier as a propaganda tool or bargaining chip.
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“They certainly could. … We didn’t see any indication that that’s what was happening here, but it certainly wouldn’t be unusual for them,” Kirby said. “We are focused on trying to get information from him personally.”
North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Sung-kyung called the United States a corrupt "evil empire", reports ABC. In a statement published by state media, Kim accused the US of promoting racial discrimination, gun crimes, child abuse and forced labor.
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