Luanda [Angola], September 28 (ANI): Travis King, the young American soldier who crossed the border on foot from South Korea into North Korea in July, was back in US custody, Voice of America reported on Wednesday.
The American-based media outlet reported quoting the US defence officials said that the Army Private Second Class Travis King was transferred to China from North Korea, with Sweden serving as an intermediary to secure his release.
"US officials have secured the return of Private Travis King from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). We appreciate the hard work of personnel in the Army, United States Forces Korea, and across the Department of Defense to bring Private King home, and we thank the governments of Sweden and the People's Republic of China (PRC) for their assistance," said Pentagon press secretary Brig Gen Pat Ryder.
Earlier Wednesday, North Korea said it was expelling King after wrapping up its final investigation of him. He was taken by North Korean soldiers in July after dashing through the Koreas' heavily militarized border.
There were no concessions given to North Korea for this exchange, a senior administration official told VOA during a briefing to reporters Wednesday.
King was facing pending administrative separation from the US Army when he returned to his base in Fort Bliss, Texas, after spending time in a South Korean jail on assault charges. He was about to board a plane to the United States on July 17 when he snuck out of the airport and made it onto a civilian tour of the border complex between North and South Korea one day later.
King was taken by North Korean soldiers on duty at the Joint Security Area, KCNA reported, when the plain-clothed soldier "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."VOA reported, that the North's official news agency, KCNA, said Wednesday that King had harboured ill feelings over inhumane treatment and racial discrimination within the US Army. It added that North Korea's interim findings were that King wanted refuge in North Korea or elsewhere because of that same reason.
The Military Demarcation Line is the official border separating the two Koreas, put in place by an armistice that paused the 1950-1953 Korean War, which remains without a formal end and peace treaty.
Earlier last month, North Korea confirmed publicly for the first time that US Army Pvt. Travis King crossed into its territory.
A statement from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday claimed that Travis King had expressed"his willingness to seek refuge" in North Korea or a third country. (ANI)