American soldier Travis King, who crossed into North Korea, is in US custody
Travis King, who had served in South Korea, sprinted into North Korea while on a civilian tour of a border village on July 18.
US soldier Travis King who crossed into North Korea two months ago is in American custody, two US officials said as per news agency Associated Press. One unnamed official said that Travis King was transferred to US custody in China after North Korea said it would expel Travis King as the authorities have finished their questioning of the soldier. North Korea, however, did not say when officials plan to expel him or where.
Travis King, who had served in South Korea, sprinted into North Korea while on a civilian tour of a border village on July 18. With this he became the first American confirmed to be detained in the North Korea in nearly five years. At that time, he was supposed to be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, following his release from prison in South Korea following an assault conviction.
North Korea said that Travis King confessed to illegally entering the country because he harbored “ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” within the US Army and was “disillusioned about the unequal US society.”
“The relevant organ of the DPRK decided to expel Travis King, a soldier of the US Army who illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK,” it was reported.
Earlier Travis King’s mother, Claudine Gates, said that her son had “so many reasons” to want to come home. “I just can’t see him ever wanting to just stay in Korea when he has family in America. He has so many reasons to come home,” she said.
Unauthorized crossings across the Demilitarized Zone are extremely rare. The few Americans who crossed into North Korea in the past include soldiers, missionaries, human rights advocates or those simply curious about the country.