A U.S. soldier who darted across the border into North Korea is now in U.S. custody and headed to a U.S. military base after being released from North Korean detainment Wednesday, a senior government official confirmed.
Travis King ran across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between tNorth and South Korea while on a tour with a group.
The officials said a multi-agency effort over a period of several months was needed to secure King’s return to U.S. custody. King was transferred out of North Korea to China, where he was met by officials.
Diplomats from Sweden and China worked with the U.S. to secure the private’s release.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan thanked Sweden and the Chinese government for helping facilitate the transfer.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, the official media arm of Pyongyang, King allegedly confessed to feeling “disillusioned about the unequal U.S. society.” There is no way to verify if King actually made these remarks.
King served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in South Korea. He previously spent two-months in detention for assault charges, and was released shortly before he ran away from his tour group at the DMZ.