According to Pyongyang, Travis King wanted to find refuge to escape racial discrimination
A man walks past a television showing a news broadcast featuring a photo of US soldier Travis King, who ran across the border into North Korea on July 18, 2023. © Anthony WALLACE / AFP
North Korean authorities decided to expel Travis King, a US soldier who fled to the country this summer, state-run media reported on Wednesday. The news was confirmed by Washington, saying that the service member was now in US custody.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korean officials finished investigating the incident in which King “illegally intruded” into the country’s territory near the village of Panmunjom, located north of the de-facto border with South Korea.
The investigators said King had confessed that he entered North Korea illegally because he “harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army and was disillusioned about the unequal US society.” Pyongyang had previously acknowledged last month that the soldier sought refuge in North Korea or another unspecified country due to these reasons.
In this vein, “the relevant organ of the DPRK decided to expel Travis King… under the law of the Republic,” KCNA added, referring to North Korea’s official name.
A US official, quoted by CBS News, confirmed North Korea had released King, who appeared to be in “good health and good spirits as he makes his way home.”