North Korea Releases US Soldier After Two Months in Captivity

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North Korea announced they would “expel” Travis King. King was a U.S. Army private who crossed from South Korea to North Korea during a joint security zones tour in July. A U.S. official told the Associated Press that King had been “transferred to American custody” by the Chinese authorities.

KCNA reported “the relevant DPRK organ decided to expel Travis King – a U.S. Army Soldier who illegally intruded the territory DPRK – under the law and Republic,” KCNA said.

King fled before boarding the aircraft that was supposed to return him back to Fort Bliss, where he’d be charged with assault, and removed from military service. North Korea saw the King’s escape as an opportunity to spread propaganda.

North Korea says that King “confessed”, that he illegally entered DPRK territory because he felt resentful and disillusioned with the inequalities of the U.S. Society and the U.S. Army.

BBC:

In past years, American citizens who illegally entered North Korea – but were not convicted of criminal activity – were released within 6 months.

Private King, a reconnaissance specialist who joined the Army in January 2021, was a member of the armed forces. He was in South Korea on his rotation.

After two months in prison for assault charges, he was released on the 10th of July. He was sent back to South Korea for disciplinary measures, before crossing over into the North.

King’s mother says that King has “so many reasons” to return home.

She told him that he had many reasons to go home.

Associated Press:

It was not clear how King was expelled. North Korea had deported Otto Warmbier in 2017. The student was in a coma and was later found dead.

In December 1994, Bill Richardson traveled to North Korea in order to retrieve the remains of Korean War servicemen.

King was not granted POW status by the U.S. government, partly because of the absence of hostilities. King crossed the border of his own volition.

King could have been affected by mental issues. The uncle of King claims that he grieved the death of his 6-year-old niece.

Travis was crazed and reckless when he learned that my son’s life support would be cut off soon. King’s uncle said that Travis seemed to be going crazy.