American Soldier Travis King Returns From North Korea
King Was in North Korean Custody For Two Months
An American soldier, Travis King, has returned to the United States after being detained for more than two months in North Korea for illegally crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas.
King arrived at a US military base in Texas around 05:30 GMT on Thursday, according to a US official. Video aired by a Texas news station appeared to show King, dressed in a dark top, walking off a plane in San Antonio.
King had been released into US custody a day earlier after North Korea said it "decided to expel" the 23-year-old US soldier, who is Black.
According to the official KCNA news agency, King had "confessed that he illegally intruded into the territory of [North Korea] as he harbored ill feelings against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US army and was disillusioned about the unequal US society".
King had bolted into North Korea in July while on a tour of the southern side of an inter-Korean truce village, Panmunjom. He was serving nearly two months in a South Korean prison for assault when he was released on July 10 and was to be sent home to Fort Bliss, Texas.
However, he managed to leave the airport and eventually crossed into North Korea on July 18.
According to US officials, no concessions were made as part of securing his return. The US thanked Sweden and China for facilitating King’s release but stressed that the move did not represent a diplomatic breakthrough with Pyongyang.
King is expected to undergo a medical review at Brooke Army Medical Center, a hospital at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. US basketball star Brittney Griner was treated there in December after a prisoner swap with Russia ended her 10 months in Russian detention.
The return of Travis King to the United States marks the end of more than two months in North Korea's custody of the American soldier. King is now expected to undergo a medical review at Brooke Army Medical Center, where US basketball star Brittney Griner was treated last December.