Avatar photo
BY Francis Akhalbey, 11:15am July 19, 2023,

Travis King: new details arrive about detained U.S. soldier who crossed into North Korea 

Pvt. Travis King willingly entered North Korea -- Photo via New York Post

A U.S. Army private being detained in North Korea after intentionally crossing into the East Asian nation did so “without authorization”, the United Nations and U.S. officials on Tuesday said, per ABC News.

The soldier, identified as 23-year-old Pvt. Travis King, was supposed to return to the United States after he was held at a detention facility in South Korea for 47 days. King is said to have been detained by South Korean authorities after he got into an altercation with locals, a U.S. official said. He was reportedly stationed in South Korea at the time.

Following his release, a military escort took King to the Incheon International Airport to board a flight to the United States and report to his base in Fort Bliss, Texas, an official said. The soldier was said to be facing “pending administrative separation actions for foreign conviction.” 

But King could only be taken to the customs checkpoint as the military escort was without a ticket to enable passage beyond that area. King, therefore, made his way to the terminal without the escort before leaving the airport for a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Authorities did not also expect King to deliberately miss his flight.

During the tour, a tourist claimed King crossed into the secretive nation after laughing out loud, New York Post reported. In the wake of the incident, King’s mother said learning about her son entering North Korea had left her in shock. “I can’t see Travis doing anything like that,” Claudine Gates told ABC News. Gates, who said she wants King to just “come home”,  told the news outlet that she had spoken to her son “a few days ago” and he informed her that he’ll soon be going back to Fort Bliss. 

“We’re very early in this event and so there’s a lot that we’re still trying to learn,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a news conference on Tuesday. “What we do know is that one of our service members who was on a tour willfully and without authorization crossed the military demarcation line. We believe that he is in DPRK custody. We’re closely monitoring and investigating the situation, and working to notify the soldier’s next of kin and engaging to address this incident.”

“I’m absolutely foremost concerned about the welfare of our troop. We will remain focused on this, and this will develop in the next several days,” added Austin. The White House also said President Joe Biden has been notified about the incident.

“The White House, the Department of Defense, the State Department, and also the U.N. are all working together to ascertain more information and resolve this situation,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters. “I don’t have more to share beyond that. We are looking into this.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 19, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates