Bharat Express

North Korea Claims A US Soldier Illegally Intruded On Its Territory

Pyongyang has a long history of holding Americans as bargaining chips in bilateral negotiations

North Korea

The US soldier who crossed the border into North Korea last month admitted that he illegally intruded, Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA reported Wednesday, citing an investigation.

The report is North Korea’s first public statement on the case of Travis King, who was on his way back to the United States following a run-in with South Korean police when he snuck away to join a tourist trip to the Demilitarized Zone.

“According to an investigation by a relevant organ of the DPRK, Travis King admitted that he illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK”, North Korea’s official name, KCNA claimed.

“During the investigation, Travis King confessed that he had decided to come over to the DPRK as he harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army”, KCNA continued.

Private Second Class King was being transported to the airport last month to fly back to Texas after a drunken pub fight, an altercation with police, and a spell in a South Korean jail.

Instead of attending disciplinary hearings at Fort Bliss, King stole away, joined a Demilitarized Zone sightseeing excursion, and crossed the border.

“King came to be kept under control by soldiers of the Korean People’s Army on duty as he deliberately intruded into the area of the DPRK side between the room for the DPRK-US military contacts and the restroom of security officers along the Military Demarcation Line”, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wednesday, confirming King’s detention in North Korea for the first time.

“He also expressed his willingness to seek refugee status in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned with the unequal American society”, KCNA reported, adding that a government investigation was still ongoing.

The event in July occurred at a time when ties between the two Koreas are at an all-time low, with negotiations stalled and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pressing for accelerated weapons development, including tactical nuclear bombs.

The United Nations Command stated earlier this month that North Korea had responded to efforts to address the situation.

At the time, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that contact had been made with the North Koreans, but said that he had no idea where King was or in what condition he was in.

The two Koreas are technically still at war because the 1950-53 conflict concluded in an armistice rather than a treaty, and the majority of the border is highly fortified.

However, despite the presence of soldiers on both sides, the JSA border is marked solely by a modest concrete partition and is quite easy to cross.

Pyongyang has a long history of holding Americans as bargaining chips in bilateral negotiations.

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