North Korea Acknowledged US Army Pvt. Travis King's Presence In The Country
On Wednesday, North Korea acknowledged US Army Pvt. Travis King's presence in the country. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement asserting that King had shown "his intention to seek refuge" in North Korea or another third country.
Hilda WorkmanAug 16, 202331935 Shares476648 Views
On Wednesday, North Korea acknowledged US Army Pvt. Travis King's presence in the country. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement asserting that King had shown "his intention to seek refuge" in North Korea or another third country. The statement also revealed that King had admitted to entering North Korea because of "his resentment against inhuman mistreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army."
In July, King crossed the military demarcation line from South Korea into North Korea during a visit to the Joint Security Area within the demilitarized zone (DMZ). At the time, King, a junior enlisted soldier under US Forces Korea, was facing assault charges in South Korea. His removal from the military was scheduled for a day after he ventured into North Korea.
KCNA also stated that he had confessed to "illegally" trespassing into North Korean territory and mentioned that the investigation is currently in progress. A representative from the US defense sector mentioned that the United States is unable to authenticate the reported statements made by King. However, the primary goal of the Defense Department is to ensure his secure repatriation.
"The department’s priority is to bring Private King home, and that we are working through all available channels to achieve that outcome," the official said.
Claudine Gates, King's mother, made an appeal to Pyongyang, urging them to treat her son with compassion. Jonathan Franks, a family spokesperson, conveyed her request for a potential phone call with her son.
On Wednesday, Vedant Patel, the deputy spokesperson of the State Department, informed that North Korea has not engaged with US communication efforts regarding King, with the exception of a solitary confirmation message sent to United Nations officials.
We have raised this case through the appropriate channels that exist to send messages and communicate to the DPRK. We have done so over the course of this process and have not gotten, aside from that one confirmation message to UN officials, have not received any communication from the DPRK on this.- Vedant Patel
US soldier Travis King is in North Korea, country confirms
Public statements from US defense authorities have indicated that King entered North Korea "voluntarily and without permission" during a civilian visit to the DMZ. Slightly more than a week prior to his border-crossing, King was discharged from a detention facility in South Korea, where he had undergone a 50-day period of labor. At the Aspen Security Forum last month, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth mentioned that if King had adhered to his intended plan of returning, he would have faced added repercussions from the US Army for his actions in South Korea.
He had assaulted an individual in South Korea and had been in custody of the South Korean government and was going to come back to the United States to face the consequences in the Army. And I’m sure that he was grappling with that.- Christine Wormuth
Earlier this month, King's family informed that they had no indications suggesting he would defect from the US military. King's sister, Jaqueda Gates, stated that as of that time, their family hadn't received further details about her brother's location, emphasizing that he is not the kind of person to simply vanish.
Meanwhile, discussions have been ongoing within the Biden administration regarding the potential designation of King as a prisoner of war. This classification could grant him increased safeguards under the Geneva Convention, according to defense officials. Currently, no final determination has been reached. King's status remains classified as AWOL.
Considering that the Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which maintains a state of technical warfare between the US and North Korea, King could potentially meet the criteria for POW status. Both nations are signatories of the Geneva Convention, which sets stringent standards for the treatment of prisoners of war during their captivity.
However, officials have consistently stressed that King was apprehended by North Korean authorities after deliberately crossing into the country. He was in civilian attire and participating in a private tour of the demilitarized zone, rather than being involved in any active engagement between the US and North Korean military forces.