Travis King in US custody after North Korea expulsion

Travis King in US custody after North Korea expulsion
Travis King US soldiers who crossed border to North KoreaReuters

US soldier Travis King, who fled to North Korea in July, is in American custody after being expelled by Pyongyang, officials say.

The 23-year-old reconnaissance specialist illegally crossed into North Korea in July.

North Korean media said he had fled because of “inhuman treatment” and racism within the US military.

His condition and the details of his confinement in North Korea remain unclear.

Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea’s state-run news agency said the country had decided to “deport” Mr King, without offering further details.

Private King had been in the army since January 2021 and was in South Korea as part of a unit rotation.

Before entering North Korea, he had served two months in detention in South Korea for assault charges before being released on 10 July.

He had been due to return to the US for disciplinary proceedings, but managed to leave the airport and join a tour of the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two countries, from which he fled.

It is unclear whether Private King faces additional charges stemming from his decision to enter North Korea.

The US Department of State, White House and defence department did not immediately comment on the matter.

A spokesman for the King family also said that “no substantive comment” was expected for now, according to Reuters.

His family have previously told US media that he had experienced discrimination while serving in the military and that his mental health had suffered during his months in South Korean custody.

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