Soldier Returns To US After Being Freed By North Korea – News21USA

US News Today (News21USA): U.S. soldier Travis King has returned to the United States after being freed by North Korea, a Defense Department official said Thursday.

“I can confirm that he landed in the United States,” the official told AFP, without giving further details.

A U.S. official previously said King would be taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas upon his return to the United States, the same place where U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was evaluated after being released by Russia.

After a drunken pub fight, an incident with police and a stay in a South Korean jail, Private Second Class King was to be taken to the airport in July to fly back to Texas.

But instead of traveling to Fort Bliss for disciplinary hearings, he escaped, joined a tourist trip to the Demilitarized Zone and crossed the border.

Last month, Pyongyang confirmed it was holding him, saying King had defected to North Korea to escape “mistreatment and racial discrimination in the U.S. military.”

But after completing its investigation, Pyongyang “decided to expel Travis King, a US Army soldier who illegally broke into the territory of the DPRK, in accordance with Republic law,” the Korean Central News Agency said on Wednesday. using information from the North. formal acronym.

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King’s border crossing came at a time when relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in history, with diplomacy stalled and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calling for greater weapons development, including tactical nuclear warheads.

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

One of the last American citizens detained by North Korea was student Otto Warmbier, who was detained for a year and a half before being released in a coma to the United States. He died six days later.

About a half-dozen American soldiers made rare defections to the North after the Korean War and were used for the country’s propaganda.

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