N. Korea ‘expels’ US soldier Travis King weeks after he crossed border
U.S. soldier Travis King will be ‘expelled’ from North Korea after two months in custody, state media announced Wednesday. The North Korean news agency KCNA reported that King is being removed from the country because of his ‘illegal entry’ in July when he broke free from a tour group viewing the DMZ and made a made dash to the communist country. Officials in the country said that they had concluding their ‘questioning’ of King and said that he sought refuge in North Korea because he harbored ‘ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination’ in the U.S. Military. There have been no statements from the U.S. on King’s impending release.
It’s not clear where Private King (pictured), 23, will be sent, nor when exactly he will be released. The rogue state infamously has almost non-existent diplomatic relations with its neighbors, with the notable exceptions of Russia and China . There have been no details released regarding King’s health nor has been seen since July. King had been due to return to Texas to answer to assault charges stemming from an incident that occurred while he was stationed in South Korea. Relatives described King as a quiet loner who did not drink or smoke and enjoyed reading the Bible. After growing up in southeast Wisconsin, he was excited about serving his country in South Korea. King’s family are not sure what was going through his mind as he ran into a country with a long history of holding Americans and using them as bargaining chips.
King was supposed to be returned to the U.S. the same week he crossed the DMZ to face military discipline after serving nearly two months in a South Korea prison on assault charges. He was seen wearing a black t-shirt and hat purchased from a gift shop at the demilitarized zone as he peers across the border into the secretive communist country in a photo that was released shortly after his bizarre act. Witnesses said he laughed hysterically as he made the mad dash in July after fleeing his military superiors and joining the tour. The picture surfaced as it emerged King had a string of run-ins with police in South Korea for offences which included battering a man in a night club and damaging a police car.
Fears grew have been growing for King’s welfare as North Korea had being making any updates on his condition. It’s not clear if the statements attributed to King by the North Koreans are legitimate. In August, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN that holding a U.S. soldier for propaganda purposes would be in keeping with North Korea’s playbook. ‘They certainly could… We haven’t seen any indication that that’s exactly what’s afoot here, but certainly would not be out of character for them What we’re focused on is trying to make sure we can get information about him,’ Kirby told Jake Tapper. Kirby also stated that officials were completely in the dark about King’s condition and whereabouts within North Korea.
Unconfirmed reports said King ‘defected’ while his mother spoke out to say she couldn’t fathom her son doing ‘anything like that.’ Court documents reveal that months earlier, King had faced two assault allegations and was fined by a South Korean court for damaging a police car. He had served two months in prison for assault before his release in July and had been escorted to an airport by U.S. Army officials to return home for military disciplinary proceedings. But after they left him at airport security, King left the terminal and went on to the tour.
The U.S. military was scrambling to establish the fate of King, whose actions have thrown Washington into a new crisis in its dealing with the nuclear-armed state. U.S. officials said that King crossed ‘willfully and without authorization.’ In an interview last month with The Associated Press, King’s mother, Claudine Gates, said 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. Pictured: Former President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea on June 30, 2019 – the spot where King made his crossing. Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12566033/North-Korea-expels-soldier-Travis-King-weeks-sprinted-border-rogue-state-tour-region.html?ito=msngallery
Want more stories like this from the Daily Mail? Visit our profile page here and hit the follow button above for more of the news you need.