What was Travis King doing in North Korea?


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Travis T. King, a United States Army soldier on a civilian tour of the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), crossed the Military Demarcation Line in the Joint Security Area (JSA) into North Korea on July 18, 2023.


King was facing dishonorable discharge from the United States Army due to legal charges in South Korea, the country he was stationed in at the time of the crossing. King was detained by North Korean authorities on 18 July 2023

According to statements released by  the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s principal news outlet, King unlawfully entered the country owing to “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the United States Army.”


KCNA added that King “expressed his willingness to seek refuge in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned at the unequal American society” .


North Korean official media stated on September 27, 2023, that King will be “expelled” and returned to American custody. Later that day, King was taken into US custody in the Chinese border city of Dandong and flown to a US military facility in South Korea, despite no demands from the North Korean authorities.





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