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U.S. Army Pvt. crosses into N. Korea

Posted July. 20, 2023 08:05,   

Updated July. 20, 2023 08:05


U.S. media reported that the Pentagon identified a U.S. Army private on a JSA orientation tour who crossed the military demarcation line into North Korea on Tuesday as Travis King.

Joining the U.S. Army in January 2021 as a cavalry scout, Pvt. 2nd Class King served in the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys last year, The Associated Press reported. He was accused of punching civilians several times under the influence of alcohol last September and October, later being fined by the Seoul Western District Court.

In May, he was caught by the police violently smashing a parked car drunk on the street in the Sinchon area, Seoul. Detained by the U.S. Military Police Corps, he was about to be sent to Fort Bliss, Texas to face further disciplinary action. However, he managed to make his way out of Incheon International Airport right before boarding a plane for Texas on Monday.

Pretending to be a U.S. civilian, King was able to join a JSA orientation visit on Tuesday. CBS reported that he was seen to suddenly laugh out loud and rush to the north at Panmunjom. It is not yet confirmed how he could arrive at JSA as far as 85 kilometers from the airport terminal.

With military tension increasing between the United States and North Korea, all eyes are on whether their military authorities will end up at the dialogue table. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a regular briefing on Tuesday that a U.S. Army Pvt. crossed the military demarcation line into North Korea “willfully and without authorization.” The U.S. Defense Department is dealing with the situation in contact with the North Korean People’s Army, Sweden, and South Korea, she stated. However, United States Indo-Pacific Command John C. Aquilino remarked in Aspen Security Forum that Washington did not contact Pyongyang yet.

King’s mother, who lives in Racine, Wisconsin, told ABC News that his son must have lost his mind, adding that she only wants him to return home.