HomeTop StoriesPyongyang says a US soldier has "illegally intruded" on Korean soil

Pyongyang says a US soldier has “illegally intruded” on Korean soil

The US soldier who ran across the border into North Korea last month “admitted illegal entry,” Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA said Wednesday, citing an investigation.

The report is North Korea’s first public comment on the case of Travis King, who was on his way to the United States after a run-in with South Korean police when he snuck away to join a tourist trip to the demilitarized zone .

“According to an investigation by a relevant DPRK body, Travis King has admitted illegally entering DPRK territory,” KCNA said, using an acronym for North Korea’s official name.

“During the investigation, Travis King confessed that he had decided to come to the DPRK because he had a bad feeling about inhumane treatment and racial discrimination in the US military,” KCNA said.

After a drunken bar fight, an incident with police and a stint in South Korean jail, Private Second Class King was taken to the airport last month to fly back to Texas.

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But instead of traveling to Fort Bliss for disciplinary hearings, King snuck out, took part in a sightseeing trip in the Demilitarized Zone, and slipped across the border.

King “was being controlled by on-duty Korean People’s Army soldiers when he deliberately intruded into the area of ​​the DPRK side between the room for the North Korean and US military contacts and the rest area of ​​security agents along the military demarcation line,” said KCNA Wednesday, confirming King’s detention in North Korea for the first time.

“He also expressed his willingness to find a refugee in the DPRK or a third country, and said he was disappointed with the unequal American society,” KCNA said, adding that a government investigation was still ongoing.

The July incident came as relations between the two Koreas were at one of their all-time lows, with stagnant diplomacy and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un calling for more weapons development, including tactical warheads.

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Earlier this month, the UN command said North Korea was “responding” to efforts to discuss the matter.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed at the time that contact had been made with the North Koreans, adding that he still had no idea where King was or in what condition.

The two Koreas technically remain at war because the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, and most of the border between them is heavily fortified.

But with the JSA, the border is marked only by a low concrete dividing wall and is relatively easy to cross, despite the presence of soldiers on both sides.

Pyongyang has a long history of holding Americans and using them as bargaining chips in bilateral negotiations.


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