Travis King, a US soldier who deployed to North Korea (North Korea), has returned and is being detained by America. Photo/The Guardian
WASHINGTON – A United States Army (US) soldier who unexpectedly crossed into North Korea (North Korea) two months ago is now in American custody. This was revealed by a senior Biden administration official.
North Korea previously said it would expel Travis King, who ran across the border into the country on July 18 while on a civilian tour of the Joint Security Area, part of the demilitarized zone separating the country and South Korea (South Korea).
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Wednesday (27/9/2023) morning local time that US officials had “secured the return” of King. A senior government official confirmed that King had left Chinese airspace and was en route to an undisclosed US military base.
Senior US government officials detailed the months-long effort to get King out of North Korea, which they said was a “complex operation” involving multiple US government agencies and two external countries: Sweden, a partner country, and China, with which it has cool relations. Washington.
Officials said the process was initiated out of concern for King’s safety and a desire to reunite him with his family.
“After King ran across the border into North Korea and was subsequently detained by authorities there, the US began to engage in “intensive diplomacy” and used various channels to urge North Korea to allow him to leave,” said an official as quoted by Insider, Thursday (28/ 9/2023).
Officials say the US learned through Sweden, which has helped mediate talks with Pyongyang, that North Korea wanted to release King earlier this month. At an unspecified date, they said, the American soldier was transferred from North Korea and across the shared border with China, where the US received him and then began the process of transferring him home.
The “operational complexity” of the situation involved several factors, one official said, including the fact that the Swedish government had to transit North Korea and America had to be ready to receive King in China. The US did not make any concessions to North Korea in return for King.
An official said the US was grateful to the Swedish government for its diplomatic role in acting as a protective force for the US in North Korea, meaning the country represents Washington there as there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries.